You know you’ve been there, maybe as recently as Thanksgiving. You go in with good intentions and a mind that you think is focused on moderation and then things start to unravel. You fill your plate once with the tasty treats of the holidays, and next thing you know, screw moderation: you grab an extra cocktail (or three), load your plate with the best-looking treats available and dive in head first. Then you wake up and hate yourself.
It’s no wonder the holidays cause anxiety. And this year, who needs more anxiety? But it doesn’t have to look like that. And you don’t have to white-knuckle your way through holiday parties and dinners either. It’s possible to enjoy this time of year, the treats that come with it, and not hate yourself.
The Self-Love Society
First, get a grip. If you are going to change any of your behaviors, the first one to look at might be the way you are treating yourself. If you are celebrating this season at all, make sure you are celebrating yourself too, because girl, you deserve it.
Staci LaRue has been a personal trainer, pilates instructor and holistic nutritionist for more than two decades. She started a Facebook Group called “Self-Love Society” during the pandemic.
“I saw so much anxiety, fear, depression, helplessness, loneliness… I saw lack of motivation and lots of division in communities over social and political issues. I was dealing with my own personal struggles as well and just wanted to build a safe space for women like me to come together for a good cause, self-love” says LaRue.
“How can we be mothers, wives, teachers, or any other job when we aren’t taking care of ourselves? Self-care begins with self-love… and becomes more important as we age.”
In addition to working on mindset, LaRue works with women on balancing their hormones, and finding fitness, nutrition, and health and wellness plans that work for women as individuals.
She gave Taffeta some nuts and bolts tips for getting through the holidays without having to add notches to your belt loop:
Consider the Bird
If you are having a turkey, goose, or some other special meal for a holiday gathering, try to buy organic, free-range and if possible, local. What your turkey eats and how it lives directly correlates to its nutritional value, so even if it costs more, consider it more bang for your buck.
Indulge without Guilt
There are certain dishes that are unique to the holiday season and make it special. If it reminds you of happy times, and good feelings, it’s good for the soul, which is also good for your hormonal balance. For this reason, allowing these indulgences can actually be very therapeutic during the holidays. The key? Just serve yourself a small amount. Eat it slowly, and savor it without shame.
On the same note, if there is a dish that is processed junk and doesn’t fill you with joy, ditch it. Just because it always shows up this year doesn’t mean you have to have it.
There aren’t enough good things to say about water. You should always strive to start your day with a big, cleansing glass. During the holidays, if you know there will be indulgences in front of you that day, make sure you are drinking lots of it, because staying well hydrated has been proven to aid in not overeating. Also, try and have a glass after every alcoholic drink. It will slow you down, counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol, and help keep your judgment intact.
Send the extras home with someone else. One days’ indulgence does not need to become one week’s indulgence. If your friends or family insist on giving you leftovers, it’s okay to smile, say thank you, and throw it out when you get home. Getting rid of the extras immediately ensures when your willpower is gone late at night or any time in the next day, you don’t indulge all over again.
Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.