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Tips for a happy, healthy holiday season

The holiday season is a time to reflect, be with loved ones, and celebrate. However, for many others, it can drum up mixed feelings.

Here’s a short guide to help you navigate holiday pitfalls:

  • Be the person you are today, not yesterday

  • Moderation is key

  • Avoid trying to have the “ideal” holiday

  • Don’t be alone if you don’t want to be

  • Ask for help

  • Be kind to yourself

Be The Person You Want To Be

Have you ever noticed when you’re with family, sometimes it can feel like everyone reverts back to the roles they played when you were younger? The oldest sibling may feel they’re in charge; the youngest sibling, even though very assertive in their daily life, is treated like they’re unable to do things on their own or make important decisions. Perhaps, a middle child may feel left out; parents may treat their adult children like they’re still children.

What about with old friends? It may feel like “old times” being with them again. Suddenly, you’re behaving just like you did in high school, for better or worse, just to prove that you “haven’t changed” over the years.

These are scenarios that repeat itself with thousands of people here in Rockford and for millions across the country. If you notice this happening, step away for a moment. Remind yourself of who you are today. You don’t have to assume the role you played in childhood, even if other people are. If someone who’s currently in your life is with you during a get together, such as a spouse or friend, actively engage and include them in your interactions. It will help ground you.

Moderation is Key

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person gains about a pound of “holiday weight.” For those who celebrate the holidays with several big feasts, though, that number can go a lot higher.

Binge eating and the holidays often go hand in hand. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to skip out on grandma’s freshly baked cookies. Just do so in moderation. We’ve talked about eating in moderation in the past.

Whether it’s spiked egg nog, wine, or beer, binge drinking also happens during this time. Resist the temptation of using the holidays to justify that extra glass or two.

Avoid Trying to Have the "Ideal" Holiday

Oftentimes, not everything goes as planned during a holiday get together. An insensitive comment can offend someone. Perhaps one person’s holiday tradition is scoffed at by someone else. Or, dinner didn’t turn out that great.

Nobody has the perfect family or holiday. When these things happen, it can lead to the common phrase of, “Oh, my holiday is ruined.” It’s impossible to live up to the “ideal” holiday and it’s important to set realistic expectations and adjust accordingly.

Don't Be Alone if You Don't Want to Be

Circumstances may prevent many of us from spending the holidays with the ones we love. For a lot of people, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with spending this time alone.

But, if you are alone and don’t want to be, take action.

The holidays are times of giving. You could try volunteering. There are local programs that are always looking for people to help hand out gifts at hospitals, group homes, and other community agencies.

Ask for Help

Even Superman had help. Those holiday dinners can really eat up a lot of time just to prepare. It can be overwhelming and if things don’t go as planned; perhaps you left a turkey in the oven a little too long, and now, you have to start over.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Friends and family are there to lift you up when you’re down. Ask them to help set the table or to make a grocery store run.

Be Kind to Yourself

Between shopping, kids home from school, and getting ready for family get togethers, we’re always taking care of others. It’s easy to forget about ourselves during the holiday season!

Don’t let that happen.

Take some time for yourself. After all, you’re on holiday as well. Be there for yourself as much as you try to be there for other people.

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