Holidays are a stressful time for many, including me. I have memories ranging from uncomfortable to downright traumatic. I can escape a variety of ways; including food. This year, I want to show up and practice kindness and compassion while also following self-care.

Here are 5 tips to make this holiday a healthy one- inside and out.

  1. Suggest an activity

    • Volunteer as a family
      Rejoice in the true message of the season: Family togetherness and gratitude. My boyfriend has started a tradition with his family where they volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Through this experience, he was able to gain a greater appreciation for his family members and develop a deeper level of gratitude for the holiday. Altruism has tangible benefits both for the giver and the recipient. Giving back is a great suggestion to keep in your pocket.
    • Go for a post-meal walk.
      Walking directly after a meal has been shown to aid in digestion and promote weight loss.
    • Play a game.
      If your family is like mine- there are appetizers, the meal, then dessert with a side of awkward conversation. Have an activity that does not revolve around food and ease some of those interactions.
  2. Bring a healthy side dish or healthy(ish) dessert
    In fact, I do this at any party I am going to. It showcases healthy options for those who may be less attuned to what is available. It also ensures I have something healthy to eat.
  3. Focus on being helpful.
    I can contribute to chaos or peace. What side I choose depends on me. Focusing on being helpful gets me out of my head and brings me to the present moment with those around me.
  4. Allow for a treat
    I aim to steer clear of the store-bought processed foods and enjoy homemade goodies prepared with love.  I have learned to kindly decline those desserts that are not “worth” it to me with a simple no thank you. I try not to delve into the why unless someone asks. To be healthy is not to be an elitist. It is better to live by example. However, Grandma makes the best chocolate chip cookies and I will allow myself that treat. It is the holidays after all. I stick by my principles, choose thoughtfully and enjoy! 
  5. Have no expectations.There is no beaver cleaver family. No hallmark, postcard, movie life. We are all just doing the best with what we have been equipped with.

The holiday’s are about family and counting my blessings. There are always things to be grateful for. If I make suggestions, control what I can and let go of what I can’t then I will know that I did good this year; no matter the outcome.

About The Author

Valerie Rider

A health evangelist in the cubicle farm, Valerie hopes to help others sort through the noise and bring movement and healthful pursuit into a sedentary world. Having never played a sport or participated in physical activity Valerie started her path to health and wellness in 2014. The same girl who walked the mile throughout grade school boasts top 10% of female finishers for the DC Spartan 2016 Sprint. She offers a unique and fresh perspective into health and wellness fueled by a passion to share with others what she has found for herself. When she is not working out, she enjoys the outdoors, writing poetry, her rescue dog Cody and a paleo based diet. Valerie is always available for a quick tip or as a friendly resource. From organizing team volunteer days, encouraging healthy food options, and running after work exercise boot camps, to starting a standing desk movement at her office, Valerie continues to encourage and spread the word of health made easy. Valerie graduated from George Mason University in 2012 and currently works as an Analyst for a Government Contractor. Interested in common welfare, Valerie is a recipient of the Public Anthropology Award for Excellence in Writing on Public Issues and traveled to India with Habitat for Humanity. She is currently working on a Personal Training Certification from the National Association for Fitness Certification. Follow her on Instagram @DisposableWisdom for motivational content and to see what’s for dinner!

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