How to Make the Most of the Holiday Season

by Melissa Chichester

Many people associate the holiday season with increased stress.

This stress can be attributed to factors such as family gatherings, shopping, eating, finding the perfect gift, and more. With emotions already running high during the holiday season, it is important to develop a plan of action that will keep you balanced—even when the holiday season might look a little different than usual. You might have to take a new approach to enjoy the season. On the other hand, there are some tried and true tips for healthy living where the same standards still apply! 

Tips for virtual holiday gatherings 

Virtual holiday gatherings will be part of this year’s celebrations more than they have been in the past. Instead of seeing virtual parties as limiting, make them fun and festive.

Virtual events help people maintain strong social bonds, whether it is an event with friends, family, or co-workers.

Celebrating together can help you practice gratitude together and maybe even create new holiday traditions! 

Virtual holiday party ideas include:

  • Host an ugly sweater party 
  • Holiday trivia game party (everyone can pool together and send the winner an e-gift card of their choice)
  • Book night – everyone brings their favorite childhood holiday book
  • Secret Santa gift exchange or white elephant exchange
  • Share your favorite holiday recipe
  • Share your favorite holiday memory 
  • Have a virtual dinner together 
  • Cookie decorating party and contest 

With a little creativity, you can still have fun if you’re staying closer to home during the holiday season! 

Person holding festive mug with their feet up

Be mindful of others 

During the holiday season, people have increased expectations and demands. If you are not comfortable with these expectations, be honest with the other party. Express how you feel with patience and keep the lines of communication open and transparent. Acknowledge that your absence or holiday decisions might disappoint someone else, and be mindful of their emotions. This will help resolve tension.

>>A Fresh, Nutritious Take on Your Favorite Holiday Meals 

Eat nutritious meals 

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a special treat on occasion. But during the holiday season, most people find themselves spending more time eating salty and sugary treats. Luckily, there are many traditional holiday foods that are nourishing and healthy. 

Turkey: Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan and is a good source of protein and niacin. It is also a source of Vitamin B-12 and zinc. 

Pumpkin: This fan favorite is a nutritional powerhouse. Pumpkin is high in fiber and rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Plus, it is low in calories. This versatile food can be used in sweet and savory dishes alike. 

Shrimp: Shrimp cocktails usually make the rounds as an appetizer at holiday events. Shrimp is low in saturated fat and is a source of selenium and astaxanthin. 

Nuts: Raw and dry-roasted nuts contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. Plus, they contain filling healthy fats. Click here to learn about eight of our favorites.

Cranberries: Cranberries contain beneficial polyphenols and are high in fiber. Although cranberries are extremely tart, so they need to be sweetened. When you sweeten cranberries with other fruits (such as apples) or sugar substitutes, you can avoid added sugar. 

older adults waving to someone on a computer

Practice self-care 

It’s easy to forget about yourself during the holiday season. And if you are a caretaker for someone else, whether you are a parent, taking care of a parent, or a professional caregiver, this statement is even truer.

Taking time for self-care is essential to ensure you have a happy and healthy holiday season. 

The benefits of self-care include reducing stress, improving physical and mental health, and achieving a positive balance between work and your personal life. It also helps you maintain healthy relationships with family and friends, which is even more important during the holiday season to keep it low-stress. Practicing self-care also helps you maintain a positive outlook when times are tough. 

Even if the holiday season is different for you this year, there are still many ways to enjoy it and make the most of it in a safe way. And if it does become overwhelming, take a step back so you can manage stress and take care of your health.