Thanksgiving can be stressful. It is one of those holidays that lacks religious structure, and tends to be a time when most family member’s that normally don’t see each other are faced with their distant relatives, in close quarters, for prolonged periods of time without food leading up to the big feast. Not to mention, the post feast anxiety and icky feelings of being overstuffed, bloated, uncomfortable. I also find myself
drinking reading a lot on this particular holiday, which is probably a contributing factor to it being my favorite holiday of the year, and also why the Friday after is usually my laziest/worst feeling day of the year.
To prepare for the coming week of sugary pies, salty sides and heavily buttered birds, here are some tips for keeping yourself healthy (and as a result HAPPY) this holiday:
1. Prep your immune system: Thanksgiving happens to fall on a very transitional month, especially here in San Diego. Temperatures are dropping, storms are brewing, and the flu is in full effect. The top ways to help your immune system stay strong through the next week of indulgence is to drink LOTS of fluids and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep and hydration are two of the most forgotten tricks to taking care of your body, so don’t neglect these free remedies. I also like to take walks a lot during this time of year. It is good for circulation and will get you some Vitamin D to boost your system. Also, it is my favorite thing to do right after my turkey nap, to start burning off those cals and make room for dessert!
2. Stock up on the good stuff: Even though our mom’s and grammy’s tend to force feed us legumes like green beans, peas and carrots on these holidays, the good:bad ratio is CLEARLY unbalanced when it comes to Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but I always stock up on sweet potatoes (BTW normally these are great for you but we add cups of butter, sugar and rum to ours and then top them off with marshmallows…), stuffing and pumpkin pie. To prevent your digestive system from doing a ton of extra work, try eating your salads and veggies first to fill up on fiber. My family has also recently started tweaking recipes to be relatively healthier. Last year, we decreased the butter in the turkey recipe and increased other natural moisturizers like citrus fruit and champagne. This year, I am going to make a gluten free stuffing to lighten the load on myself and my loved ones!
3. Don’t forget to take care of your star player: While tending to visiting family and coordinating the biggest meal of the year, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Try to stretch a little bit every morning, or soak in a hot tub or jacuzzi in the evenings. Treat yourself to a massage, take brisk walks in between meals. Make that man of yours rub your feet, light those aromatherapy candles you’ve had since last Christmas.
4. Give Back: There are countless opportunities to lend a hand to those in need during the holiday season. Sometimes it is tough because many of us travel, but Thanksgiving has more downtime at home and less time at the mall buying crap, so use that time to pay it forward. By simply looking up local homeless shelters and spending a couple hours serving food to the less fortunate, you can make a profound impact on the life of another. You can also drop canned goods by your local grocery store to donate to various shelters, check with your local hospital to see if there are any opportunities to bring food or gifts to ill children, or find out ways you can get involved with getting food to the victims of Hurricane Sandy!
5. Count your blessings: This is by far the most important thing to do during this holiday. Giving thanks for your health, family, friends, pets, shelter are all central to the tradition of Thanksgiving. Spend your downtime reflecting on all of the amazing facets of your life that some do not have. We take so many things in this life for granted in our every day hustle and bustle, and forget that we are blessed with many necessities some struggle all their life to find. Enjoy the warmth of your home, watch some of your favorite feel-good movies, indulge, sleep in, give lots of hugs and kisses, and tell those close to you how much you love them. Life is short, enjoy it!