It feels like just yesterday, we were enjoying warm weather and summer cookouts – it’s hard to believe the busiest time of the year is just around the corner!
While many look forward to the holidays, the additional stressors of the season can be overwhelming – especially for those who have recently experienced a heart event. Don’t let the hustle and bustle throw your health goals off-track!
As you prepare to navigate the pace, parties, and expectations of upcoming festivities, it’s important to keep all you’ve learned in Cardiac Rehab top of mind. In keeping Pritikin’s Three Pillars: Regular Exercise, Heart-Healthy Nutrition, and a Healthy Mind-Set, at the forefront of your wellness routine, you can keep yourself on track through the holiday season and beyond.
With all there is to do during this time of year, things can get more than a little hectic and stressful. Making sure to check in with yourself and your stress levels on a regular basis can make a big difference this season. I encourage you to take time to slow down and remember the simple joys of the season. Here are some ways I will be managing my stress levels in the coming weeks:
- Take time for yourself. Practice deep abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery to put you in your best frame of mind.
- Get plenty of rest. When you are well-rested, your body and mind can function at an optimal level.
- Communicate! Enlist the help of family and friends so your to-do list becomes an all-done list.
Visit our archive of healthy mind-set articles for additional ideas on how to prioritize your mental health and manage stress.
The holiday season is filled with treats, to keep on-track, practice these simple strategies:
- Plan meals in advance. Do not let a busy schedule lead you to hasty last-minute decisions.
- Prepare and freeze food to enjoy in the days ahead. During busy nights and weekends, you could have a hearty and delicious soup or stew waiting.
- Do not go hungry. If you arrive at a party hungry, you may be more tempted to fill up on whatever is within arm’s reach. Have a snack before you go. Better yet – bring a Pritikin-friendly recipe to share!
For more heart-healthy nutrition tips and ideas, I encourage you to visit our website for a collection of articles written by myself and other Pritikin ICR Dietitians.
We have many resources to help you stay on track with your fitness goals but here are a few that I like to keep in mind while I’m rushing about. Holiday Shopping can be a great way to work out– and not just your wallet!
- Park further away from the entrance. Since up-front parking is usually at a premium, save the wait time and frustration of snagging a close spot and park further from the entrance.
- If you arrive at your local mall before it opens, you can take-in the decorations and window displays before the hustle and bustle begins while you get in your steps.
- Skip the escalators and elevator and take the stairs.
In prioritizing your mind-set, nutrition, and exercise throughout the holiday season, you might be surprised at how much more you’re able to enjoy the season. With a little forethought and planning, you can maintain your healthy approach while still enjoying all this magical time of year has to offer.