Diet, Exercise, and Holiday Stress: Tips for Staying Sane During the “Joyful” Season

Christmas stress 2It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and also the most stressful. The holiday season is upon us, and so are activities like shopping for gifts and baking desserts.

Finding the time to exercise can be challenging, and the choices we make about eating and drinking can leave us feeling tired and bloated instead of energized. But don’t let seasonal stress ruin the fun. Follow these tips for happier holidays.

Don’t Skip Workouts Because You’re Short on Time!

First, switch to total-body workouts and to more intense exercise routines. You’re bound to miss workouts when your schedule is extra-busy, so make the most of your time in the gym. If you have to travel, find opportunities for exercise. Before booking a hotel, locate a gym nearby. If you can’t, then remember that “sweat sessions” don’t require much more than a jump rope that you can pack in your suitcase.

Make Smart Meal Choices

The choices you make about your diet are important, too. Start your day with a nutritious breakfast. If you know you’re going out to dinner that evening, eat a lighter lunch. Choose chain restaurants wisely, and opt for places that offer healthier menu choices. If your digestive system becomes upset, try potassium-rich foods and supplements like glucomannan that are rich in fiber.

Next, plan for challenges in your own kitchen. If you’re hosting a holiday party, choose healthy but flavorful ingredients that will make the meal memorable. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese are just some of the foods that most guests will enjoy. Consider the time of day that you shop for groceries, too. Studies show that people who go the grocery store after work tend to buy higher-calorie items.

Finally, limit your intake of high-calorie seasonal beverages such as eggnog. Enjoy a beer, brandy, or a glass of wine, but remember what it will take to burn all those empty calories. Plus, holiday revelers who eat too much are also more likely to overeat. By following these and other tips, you can stay healthier – and happier – during this holiday season.


  • “20 Tips for Healthier (Happier!) Holidays,” Muscle & Fitness Hers, November 1, 2015; Perry, Cat; Kelly, Diana; Lee, Sarah; Mahoney, Kristin
  • Image Credit: © Juniart/IngImage