I have a confession…
As the weather gets cooler, the days shorter and the holidays nearer, I find it difficult to be mindful of my health.
I tend to stay snuggled up on the couch with a good book instead of moving and I tend to eat heavy comfort foods and holiday sweets that aren’t kind to my body.
Because I assume I’m not alone in this struggle, I invited my friend and health guru, Melanie Heraldson, to help us out!
I met Melanie at a retreat at Kripalu in February 2015. My very first encounter with her was when she offered to let me borrow clothes until my baggage arrived (the story of the lost luggage can be read here). Yep, she’s one of those kindhearted, generous souls! Although I was grateful for the clothes, I was even more grateful for her presence and positive spirit throughout the week.
Lucky for us, Melanie is a health educator, Integrative Nutrition coach, and yoga teacher. I was thrilled when Melanie agreed to offer us her Top 10 Tips to maintaining health during the winter and holiday season. Take it away, Melanie!
The holidays. A time to celebrate family, friends, tradition and spirit, and yet we often limp through the experience feeling wrung out on the other end. Not this year.
This year, I invite you to look at the holidays with pleasure and your well-being in mind.
Here are ten ways to a healthy and vibrant holiday season!
1. Hydrate. Your goal is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water throughout the day! Add fresh squeezed lemon to help flush toxins! This is a great way to alkalize and energize your body!
2. Exercise. Moving our bodies is essential for balance and overall health because it creates the conditions to breathe deeply, stretch, circulate the blood and lymph, and sweat. The more we move, the more efficient our body becomes at circulating and flushing toxins.
3. Afternoon Snooze. Set your alarm for 30 minutes or less, lay down, close your eyes and relax. This isn’t meant to be a long, deep sleep. Short, light naps restore alertness, cognitive function, and memory, leaving you feeling refreshed.
4. Dry skin brushing. Dry skin brushing helps stimulate your lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of toxins. Skin brushing improves the surface of circulation on the skin and keeps the pores of the skin open. Skin brushing also strengthens the immune system and helps aid the digestive system.
5. Take a sauna. Sweat is a most important elimination route for toxins. The heating of the tissues, which takes place in a sauna, helps the body heal from infections and disease more quickly. I make it a habit to go to the sauna once a week for a deep, cleansing sweat. If feels amazing and does a body good.
6. Simplify. Be realistic about how much time you’re going to have to cook between now and the New Year and plan accordingly. Batch cooking soups and stews and freezing a second serving will cut your time in the kitchen in half.
7. Eat a handful of greens before each meal. Committing to a small plate of greens before each meal helps to add fiber and more raw enzymes into your diet – and will control how much you eat next because you begin to feel full more quickly. Top the greens with a squeeze of lemon, a little olive oil, sea salt, and some hemp hearts. Hemp hearts have healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein.
8. Pack your smoothies with lots of nutrients! If you opt for a smoothie make one that is loaded with greens and has no added sugars. When picking fruit, go for dark berries. Adding avocado or coconut oil helps to balance blood sugar levels, along with the added fiber from flax or chia seeds.
9. Snack on nuts, seeds, and healthy fats! Instead of sugary treats throughout the day to offset some of the indulgence in sweet desserts later.
10. Get organized. Whether you’re a family of one or many, getting organized will ease you mind. One day this week, take 15 minutes to look at the calendar. Do you need to coordinate with your partner on something? Any questions weighing on you? Maybe there are a few dates on the calendar you want to cancel or a weekend you want to block out for no obligations.
Most importantly a little self-love! Take a hot Epsom salt bath, get a massage – whatever it is that makes you feel completely taken care of.
I have discovered the incredible connection between healthy eating and the empowerment to do greater things in life. The choices people are making in the kitchen are not just changing their health, but they are changing their entire lives. I am on the same journey. I am still trying to make one healthy change every single day, and every day I know that I am one choice healthier than the day I was before. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go or how big or small these changes are what matters is you keep making one change every day. What does one change look like? What is one thing you can do today to improve your health?
Remember to take things slow, set realistic goals for yourself and celebrate each small victory!
Thank you for the practical advice and inspiration, Melanie!
For me, the one thing I am doing to improve my health this season is to stay active. I’m not a huge fan of the gym, so even though the temperatures are dropping, I’m scheduling time to bundle up and get outside. To make sure I follow through, I’m scheduling workouts with friends. Moving my body and catching up with loved ones is the perfect start to a new healthful holiday routine!
Leave a comment below and let Melanie and me know how you commit to improving your health this season!
Then go check out Melanie’s website at www.melanieharaldson.com. You can sign up for her free weekly newsletter with healthy coaching tips or, if you’re really inspired, schedule a free health strategy session! If you live in (or will be visiting) Boca Raton, Melanie teaches yoga and yummy nutrition and cooking classes as well.
Let’s commit to improving (or at least maintaining) our physical health this holiday season!