Family, Self

3 Tips To Avoid Overindulging Over The Holidays

stressed couple

Overeating, overspending and just plain overdoing it are three of our main indulgences, especially during the holidays. There are a few simple ground rules that when applied, can make the difference between feeling happy or funky come January. Here are three of them: How Do You Reduce Holiday Stress?

1. Overeating can mean too many portions, too large a portion, eating the “bad” foods, or any combination thereof. This is, of course, quite subjective for each individual. Only you know when you cross the line. My favorite tip for avoiding all three is never go really hungry to a party-type gathering. You can be hungry, but when blood sugar is much too low from lack of protein, you’ll find yourself making a bee-line for the pastry table. Nibble on some protein before you leave the house. It doesn’t have to be an entire steak, just a nibble. Here are some food suggestions:

  • Few spoonsful of egg salad (or half a hard-boiled egg)
  • Small scoop of tuna or chicken salad
  • Slice of turkey
  • Wedge of cheese
  • Handful of almonds
  • Half a protein shake

When you level out your blood sugar a bit before you show up to the party, you can still enjoy the food – a bit of everything, if you wish - without the urge to over do it.

2. Overspending, like overeating, is subjective. Only you can tell when it’s too much. Maybe you get that icky uneasiness in your tummy or feel the need to confess to your spouse. If you enjoy buying your fifteen grandchildren ten large presents each and it doesn’t send you into bankruptcy, then by all means do it. No judgment here. But if that way of spending either runs counter to your values or your checkbook (or both), discuss with your spouse and family members what feels right for you and follow that. Here are some suggestions to keep your bank account intact:

  • Give one tiny gift each night of Hanukkah or one big one.
  • Give small gifts for Christmas or a single special one.
  • Arrange a gift exchange with an agreed-upon amount limit.
  • Send heartfelt notes or homemade cookies to some people in your life instead of buying gifts – hairdresser, pet-sitter, and so on.

The important point here is that you stay within your comfort zone, whatever that might be, and don’t succumb to the frenzy around you unless that fits who you are.

3. Overdoing can be greatly alleviated by adopting the mindset of, "I want to enjoy the holidays, not stress out." Set your intention to relax and have a good time, and get rid of whatever you possibly can that stands as an obstacle to that intention. This is a simple and pleasant concept, but not necessarily easy. The reason for this is that it requires you to let go of some expectations, some of which you might have had all your life. Try some of these helpful suggestions:

  • Look at your to-do list and cross off half of it.
  • Bake from a mix rather than from scratch.
  • Set the holiday table with square napkins straight from the package instead of folding each one in the shape of a reindeer.
  • Turn down some invitations, even though some events may sound really fun. 
  • Rest for five minutes in the car in between errands.

If you’re a parent or close to children, remember they’re watching you. Be the way you’re hoping for them to be as they grow. Model calmness and realistic expectations, especially during this time of year. Excitement and happy anticipation can be there without the negative type of stress, so practice wherever and whenever you can. Here’s to a joyous holiday season! 10 Ways To Have A Loving Holiday Season