The holidays are an exciting time to celebrate family traditions and enjoy festive activities! However, it can also mark a time of increased anxiety and stress. The accessibility of holiday foods and treats can trigger feelings of anxiousness during a time when our normal eating habits swing out of balance, and it’s a season that can cause some people to binge eat when they’re seeking comfort or some form of escape.
If you’re struggling with your relationship with food, especially during the holidays, there are ways to address that without feeling the need to stick to a strict diet or avoid social gatherings altogether. Here are a few tips for maintaining a healthy relationship with food during the holiday season.
Make time for mindful check-ins
Many disordered eating habits tend to be fueled by internal struggles that we are failing to acknowledge. This is why the accessibility of excess amounts of food at family gatherings and events can cause us to think impulsively instead of mindfully. Check in with what your body is telling you. Are you hungry or just emotionally eating? If you’re hungry, make sure to eat something! Otherwise, you may be engaging in mindless eating, and it might be time to reflect inward. Regular mental health and body check-ins are critical to maintaining a healthy relationship with food.
Eat intuitively, don’t starve yourself
Extreme dieting can cause more stress and mental health problems down the line. If strict diet rules or “saving your calories” until your holiday dinner is damaging your relationship with yourself and your confidence, it may be time to reconsider what healthy habits entail. Remind yourself that food is meant to sustain and nourish you. It gives you the energy you need to function daily and live a healthy life. You have every right to eat before a holiday dinner and you are deserving of food that nourishes your body. Allowing yourself to have a meal or snack whenever you feel hungry helps you eat mindfully during dinner time.
Enjoy the holiday foods you don’t normally get to have
Get that pumpkin spice latte or cookie you’ve been waiting for all year. It’s okay to indulge in foods you enjoy, as long as you do it in a healthy and mindful manner. A diet mindset is not easy to overcome, but it is definitely possible. When we allow ourselves to be less restrictive and listen to our bodies, it is much more satisfying and rewarding in the end.
No matter what time of year it is, self-care should always be the number one priority in your life. You have one body, so ensure that you treat it with love and care when it comes to the foods you decide to consume. Your decision-making with food impacts your mental health and well-being, especially during the holidays when you might be experiencing a wide range of emotions. This is a gentle reminder to be kind and compassionate with yourself. Take the time you need to tend to your physical, emotional, and mental health. This includes recognizing unhealthy habits and setting boundaries with yourself. The journey to having a healthy relationship with food isn’t always easy but it’s essential to your well-being.
Looking for more ways to integrate self-care into your daily routine? Check out: The Power of Positive Affirmations, Where the Heart Is: Creating Calm at Home, The Power of Daily Journaling, Nina’s Favorite Pump You Up Playlists, Curating Wellness at Home with Bobby Berk, Nina’s Favorite Wellness Podcasts and Books, and My Morning Routine.