Healthy habits for a strong body and mind during the holiday season. Hutton Health

Healthy habits for a strong body and mind during the holiday season

23rd November 2023

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The holiday season is a bustling time filled with festive meals, family gatherings, and exciting outings. Managing the extra hustle and bustle can pose challenges for maintaining fitness and nutrition goals, but it's certainly achievable with mindful planning and commitment.

Staying active during the holiday season can be challenging for several reasons:

Busy Schedules:

The holiday season often comes with a hectic schedule filled with parties, family gatherings, and other social events. Finding time for regular exercise and self-care may be difficult when there are so many other commitments.

Holiday challenges: busy schedules

Weather Conditions:

Depending on where you live, the weather during the holiday season can be less than ideal for outdoor activities.

Cold temperatures, snow, or rain as well as shorter days may discourage people from engaging in physical activities and can make it even harder to find the motivation to exercise during the busy holiday season.

Read this blog for tips to stay motivated for cold weather exercise. 

Berghaus has some great options to help keep you warm while exercising during the winter. 
Holiday challenges: Weather Conditions:


Many people travel during the holidays to visit family and friends. Changes in routine, coupled with the lack of access to a regular gym or exercise equipment, can make it challenging to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy eating pattern.

Holiday challenges: travel

Unhealthy Food Choices:

The holiday season is often associated with indulgent and calorie-rich foods. With so many delicious treats available, people may be more inclined to focus on enjoying festive meals rather than staying active and focusing on a balanced diet.

Holiday challenges: unhealthy food choices

Stress and Fatigue:

The holidays can be a stressful time for many individuals. Balancing work, family obligations, and the pressure to create a perfect holiday experience can lead to fatigue and a lack of motivation to engage in exercise and cooking healthy meals.

Holiday challenges: Stress and Fatigue:

The ‘holiday’ mindset


It is common for people to think ‘it’s the holiday’s’ so there is no point in worrying about their fitness and nutrition – perhaps it’s a waste of time, they will gain weight anyway, or they will sort their health out in January.

Some people adopt a mindset that the holiday season is a time to relax and take a break from regular routines, including exercise and nutritious eating. This mental shift can contribute to a decrease in physical activity.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season is important for both physical and mental wellbeing.

20 Tips for a healthy holiday season

20 tips for a healthy holiday season

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is essential for a healthy holiday season. 

Planning ahead for a healthy holiday season is crucial to maintain wellbeing amidst the festivities. It allows for mindful meal preparation, ensuring balanced nutrition and portion control to prevent overindulgence.

Additionally, scheduling time for physical activity and self-care activities helps manage stress and promotes a holistic approach to health during this joyful yet often hectic time.


Tips for a healthy holiday season: plan ahead

Stay Active

Prioritising your health and wellbeing means making exercise one of your healthy holiday habits.

Incorporate physical activity into your routine, whether it's going for a walk, hitting the gym, or trying holiday-themed workouts. This can help counterbalance the extra calories consumed during festive meals.

Tips for a healthy holiday season: stay active
Hutton Health’s monthly membership is a great way to motivate yourself to stay active during the holiday season!


Resist the All or Nothing Mindset

Tiny actions for your fitness and health make a big difference for your wellbeing.

Tips for a healthy holiday season: resist the all or nothing mentality

Mindful Eating

Enjoy holiday treats in moderation and be mindful of portion sizes. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues to avoid overeating. Choose nutrient-dense foods whenever possible.

Tips for a healthy holiday season: mindful eating

Stay Hydrated

Prioritise drinking water during the busy holiday season. Eggnog, apple cider, mulled wine…there are plenty of holiday beverages to sip when the season arrives.

These drinks not only pack a significant calorie punch that can accumulate quickly, but they also diminish your inhibitions, making it more likely for you to indulge in tempting foods without hesitation.

Limit sugary drinks and alcohol, and opt for water, herbal teas, or infused water instead.

Often feelings of hunger can be due to dehydration, so drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help keep hunger at bay.

Tips for a healthy holiday season: Stay Hydrated

Prioritise Sleep

The holiday season can be draining, with additional activities beyond your usual routine. Finding a peaceful night's sleep can become challenging. Securing a good night’s rest is crucial for gathering the energy required to navigate through holiday celebrations and to fight against potential illnesses.

Aim for adequate sleep to support overall health. Lack of sleep can contribute to stress, overeating, and decreased motivation to exercise.

It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, even during the holiday season. Read quick tips for quality sleep!

When you are lacking the proper sleep required at night, your brain sends out hunger signals which may result in overeating.

Chronic sleep deprivation impairs hormone balance, causing cortisol and insulin to rise, which promotes belly fat storage, inhibits fat metabolism, and increases appetite and cravings for sugary and fatty foods.

This YogaSleep machine allows you to create a personalised sleeping environment to promote quality sleep.
Tips for a healthy holiday season: prioritise sleep

Plan Healthy Meals

When hosting or attending gatherings, contribute nutritious dishes. Opting for high-volume, nutrient-dense foods ensures a rich supply of vitamins and minerals, keeping you satisfied for longer periods.

Plan healthy meals that contain lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Tips for a healthy holiday season: Plan Healthy Meals

Set Realistic Goals

Be realistic about your health and fitness goals during the holiday season. Rather than aiming for weight loss, focus on maintaining your current weight and making healthy choices.

Tips for a healthy holiday season: Set Realistic Goals

Prioritise Your Self-Care

You're likely familiar with the saying: You can't give from an empty cup. Amidst the efforts to make everyone else's holiday season spectacular, ensure you don't neglect your own needs.

Allocating time for self-care is not selfish. Engaging in self-care enhances your ability to interact with others and yourself more positively.

Rest is essential for a number of reasons. Find out about the different types of rest in this blog.

Consider activities like exercising, meditating, enjoying a warm bath, or taking a leisurely walk.

The holiday season offers a change in routine that may offer more time for self-care if you plan ahead. Treat yourself to time for wellness at home during the holiday season.

Healthy holiday tips: Prioritise Your Self-Care

Take Time to De-Stress

Holidays can be stressful. Incorporate stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help keep stress levels in check.

Early signs of stress can include:

  • Feeling perpetually exhausted
  • Withdrawing from 'normal' situations
  • Struggling to find motivation
Take Time to De-Stress

Get Active Together

Get active with your family and friends. Establish traditions that involve physical activity, such as a family walk after a holiday meal, a friendly game of touch football, or a group hike.

Some of my favourite family memories are walks and runs with cousins, siblings and friends. The snowy setting at home is always a beautiful backdrop for outdoor adventures. 

Get Active Together

Limit Sugar Intake

While it's okay to enjoy holiday sweets, be mindful of your sugar intake. Too much sugar can lead to energy crashes and weight gain. Choose healthier dessert options when possible.

Here are 7 tips to help balance your blood sugar

Healthy holiday tips: Limit Sugar Intake

Stay Connected

The holidays are a time for socialising. Maintain social connections, as they contribute to emotional wellbeing.

Consider activities that involve both socialising and physical activity – connecting through movement is one of my favourite ways to have fun with family and friends.

Healthy holiday tips: Stay Connected

Embrace Eating In

Embrace cooking and eating at home, resisting the temptation to order take away or eat out. Choose fresh ingredients and focus on making nutrient rich dishes.

Keep lots of fresh food on hand during the holiday season to make home cooking easier and quicker. Planning ahead can go along way to helping you eat a nutritious diet during the busy holidays.

Download Hutton Health's free Meal Planner to help you prepare for a successful week of mindful eating!
Healthy Holiday tips: Embrace Eating In

Boost Hygiene Practices

With the increased risk of illness during the colder months, practice good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly, get a flu shot, and take other precautions to stay healthy.

Healthy holiday tips: Boost Hygiene Practices

Communicate your Boundaries

Setting boundaries for your health and wellbeing during the holiday season is crucial for maintaining balance. Communicate your limits to loved ones regarding social gatherings, ensuring you have time for self-care and rest.

Prioritise nutritious meals and mindful activities to sustain your physical and mental health amidst the festive rush.

Healthy holiday tips: Communicate your Boundaries

Avoid skipping meals

It's common to overlook meals during the holiday season, yet doing so can result in decreased blood sugar levels, triggering heightened hunger, increased stress, and potential sleep disturbances.

Healthy holiday tips: Avoid skipping meals

Gratitude Practice

Focus on gratitude and positive aspects of the holiday season. This mindset can contribute to overall wellbeing and help manage stress.

I love this gratitude journal! Having a great gratitude journal helps keep me on track with my gratitude practice.


Healthy holiday tips: Gratitude Practice

Stick to a holiday budget

Financial stress can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing. Without caution, your budget can quickly fall out of balance if you indulge in eating out, shop for new holiday outfits and accessories, and end up buying more gifts than originally planned.

Establishing a budget for your holiday expenditures and consistently monitoring your progress allows you to reduce stress and avoid regrets, ensuring an enjoyable holiday season.

Healthy holiday tips: Stick to a holiday budget


As much as the holidays are a joyful time for many, it can also be a difficult time for others. Missing loved ones, feelings sadness and disappointment over current realities, and the immense pressure that people place on themselves can challenge people’s mental health.

Embracing the habit of keeping a journal during the holiday season can be beneficial if this time of year tends to evoke strong emotions for you.

Engaging in journaling provides an outlet for expressing your thoughts, revisiting memories of people and events from your past, and offering the clarity necessary to navigate the holiday season.

This is a beautiful wellness journal that encourages daily reflection.


Healthy holiday tips: Journal

Remember that everyone's definition of a "healthy holiday season" may vary. The key is finding a balance that works for you and allows you to enjoy the festivities while also taking care of your wellbeing.

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