Happy New Year! However you celebrate over the holidays, there’s often lots of preparations and get-togethers filled with mouthwatering foods and drinks on the table. For some, that means leaving behind healthy eating and physical fitness.
In fact, about 50% of Americans have broken a diet due to holiday food temptation and about 90% planned to enjoy the holidays without worrying about maintaining a healthy diet.
So, how do those of us who indulged this season get back on track? We commit to getting back into healthy habits, or building new ones, in the new year!
That’s easier said than done, however. So we’re sharing these tips on how you can get back on track and rebuild those healthy habits after the holidays.
Keep on reading to find out how.
How to reset from the holidays and restore healthy habits
1. Recommit to a healthy diet
Holidays often mean overindulging. Many of us eat foods we don’t normally eat. And once the festivities are over, and it's time to return to a healthy diet, it can be challenging. Taking small steps, like introducing more fruits and vegetables, whole foods, and lean meats can help. Whether on a specialty diet like keto or paleo or a standard diet, choose foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
Brian Nagele, the CEO of Restaurant Click, provides food lovers with various options while eating out. “We encourage clients to reserve restaurant seats for the upcoming holidays. But we always promote healthy eating habits by choosing whole fruits, green leafy vegetables, and lean meat. We also advise limiting salt, sugar, and fat intake and avoiding processed foods.”
2. Stay hydrated
During the holidays you may have enjoyed more sugary beverages and alcoholic drinks than normal. To get back on track, make an effort to stay hydrated.
How much water your body needs depends on a variety of factors—like your activity levels, health factors, and where you live—but generally speaking, for healthy individuals, the Mayo Clinic recommends:
- 3.7 liters per day for men (15.5 cups)
- 2.7 liters per day for women (11.5 cups)
3. Get enough sleep
Now that the parties are over, and the preparations and travel are behind you, give yourself time to rest. More importantly, prioritize getting restful and restorative sleep. The CDC recommends at least 7 hours for most adults.
As a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Matt Scarfo emphasizes the importance of rest and sleep to his clients. According to Scarfo, a resident training and nutrition expert at Lift Vault, which offers free workout plans, sleep is when our bodies recover and repair muscle.
4. Get regular exercise
It’s easy to forget about your fitness routines during the holidays. With the disruption in routines, many people aren’t able to exercise as consistently as they usually might. But as we turn over a new leaf, include regular workouts in your new year’s plans and resolutions.
John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO of Kickoff, believes consistency is the key to fitness success. “We encourage our clients to hit the gym at least three times each week. But if they have less time, we suggest being physically active, such as walking for at least 30 minutes daily. That will make a difference in their overall health.” Try working activity into your daily routine to build consistency. If choosing to walk instead of drive to the grocery store isn’t an option, try making choices like parking in the furthest parking spot while running errands. The extra steps can add up.
5. Practice meditation and mindfulness
Holidays can be stressful, which may increase feelings of depression and anxiety in some. Preparing for celebrations and buying gifts can cause financial stress; and you may feel lonely if you’re unable to be with your loved ones. If you’re feeling stressed—or even just a little deflated following the holidays, try supporting your mental well-being by practicing meditation and mindfulness.
Tory McBroom, Chief Editor at Yoga Answered, recommends trying yoga. “It’s a mind-and-body exercise that promotes physical and mental wellness. While poses keep your body fit and flexible, breathing with meditation calms your mind.”
6. Pursue your hobbies and interests
If you spent a lot of time over the holidays without much time for yourself, try to create time for yourself in the new year to relax and pursue your hobbies and interests.
Love reading? Find some new books and nourish this hobby. Or put your favorite music on and sing or dance along. Want something more active? Call some friends to play sports, or travel somewhere new. Ultimately, pursuing your passions is good for your mental health.
7. Check in on others who might need support
You might think of the holidays as a time when people come together. However, many seniors cite it as the loneliest time of the year. If you have friends, family, or neighbors who may be lonely or isolated, consider checking in to see if they need any support. It could make a huge difference for their mental and physical well-being.
8. Practice self-care
If you tend to lose yourself during the holidays, you’re not the only one. After the festivities are over, take some time to focus on yourself.
Self-care is the foundation for physical health and mental well-being. In addition to staying hydrated, eating healthy, sleeping well, and exercising regularly, here are some ways to take care of yourself:
- Separate professional and personal life
- Socialize with people
- Have 'me time'
- Pursue your passion
- Motivate yourself
- Celebrate small joys
Promoting health and well-being after the holidays
The end-of-year holidays can be a wonderful time, celebrating with family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones. Or maybe you just enjoy the fresh start of a new year.
Whether or not you monitored what you ate, or stuck with your workout routines over the holidays, now is a great time to reset and restore or renew healthy habits. Consider the eight recommendations above to help promote your overall health and well-being in the new year and beyond.