Trick or treat? How you can elevate your health over the holidays and still enjoy yourself


Halloween is just days away and there’s actually something terrifying about that:

The holiday season is practically upon us.

Here’s what you probably think: The holidays are no time to elevate your health. In fact, you’re pretty sure that there will be backsliding.

Here’s what I know: The holidays are exactly the time to elevate your health. In fact, doing so can help you enjoy yourself even more during what is often a stressful time.

Do you think this is just health coach b.s.? It isn’t. I’ll admit that what you think of as elevating your health may not be the same thing I mean. Let’s look at the core of my wellness philosophy—the 5 Facets—as an example.

The Nourish Facet

What’s the most common thing to do over the holidays? Eat! Especially sweets and treats, which are everywhere.

They’re considered indulgences for a reason, though. By favoring quantity over quality, you’re setting yourself up for fatigue, a compromised immune system, and less enjoyment over all. Yes, that last one is true. Your taste buds and your mind quickly get used to pleasure. The paradox: Eating more goodies means you enjoy them less.

Elevate your Nourish Facet by seeking out true indulgences and really savor them.

If you want eggnog, find some that’s made with the best ingredients—or make it yourself. Craving your best friend’s homemade rum balls? Wonderful! Enjoy them at her holiday party and ignore the chocolate chip cookies that you could get any time.

The Move Facet

What’s the next most common thing to do over the holidays? Shopping. If you still do this task by walking from store to store, congratulations—you’re moving! But if you tend to browse and buy online, making the time to move will help keep your energy up and stress at bay. (Remember it’s not a fat-loss strategy, which should be a relief.)

Elevate your Move Facet by starting every day with squats and push-ups.

Oy, my clients must get so tired of hearing this advice, but it’s true. Commit to it. Squats and push-ups target your major muscles, and—if you have a good range of motion—stretch your muscles, too. Try for at least 15 of each, in any position that works for you. It will take you less than five minutes and yet it builds strength and keeps your healthy momentum going.

The Rest, Play, + Connect Facets

If you wanted to, you could probably fill up every minute of every day from now until January 2nd. While your options may be endless, your energy is not. It especially can tank if your plans veer more toward the obligation-type than the fun-with-friends-type. Of course if the latter comes with endless cocktails, sugary cookies, and late-night reveling, they can deplete your energy, too.

There’s also the soul-sadness of feeling lonely in the middle of celebrations. It’s not uncommon. You may not feel like you can be yourself in certain settings. You may not even really like the people you’re obliged to spend time with. Add this into the energy-sapping holiday stress.

Elevate your Rest, Play + Connect Facets by being very picky about your plans.

Certain parties and dinners are obligatory, and you may just have to make the best of them. But you’re free to choose how you fill up your reserves in between. Think of what makes you feel especially happy and centered. If a night in sounds more decadent than the latest soiree, go for it. Better you miss one evening out, then you end up miserable for most of the holidays.

Wishing you wonderfulness!