By Norine Khalil, RD
Once again, another year has come and gone faster than the one before it, and the holidays are around the corner. Time to look back at your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions and either spend the remainder of the year either celebrating or self-loathing. But wait – before you shove your health and wellness goals deep into the depths of your closet right down there with your summer wardrobe, hold that thought. Many of my clients have already begun to give up on their goals in anticipation of the Christmas craze, but I’m suggesting a different strategy. No, I’m not saying you have to swap the stuffing out for a quinoa salad necessarily (although that is music to my ears) – I am suggesting a slight shift in mindset for these remaining weeks of December to help transition into the new year on a healthy and happy note.

Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions – The “my diet starts tomorrow” mentality is so 2016, you guys. Beginning this holiday season with the mentality that your wellness goals will be put on hold until the new year is setting you up for failure before you even begin. Start today. Not tomorrow. Choose one goal, as simple as it needs to be, and stick with it starting today. If it’s aiming to get an extra 1,000 steps in each day, grab that FitBit and get to steppin’. Skipping breakfast lately? Set a goal to prepare a simple breakfast each morning until January 1st. There is no reason to hold off on making healthy changes until January 1st 2019 when you have 29 perfect days ahead of you today.

Give the Gift of Health – As much as we say that the holidays are about family and friends…let’s be honest, we all love the gifts. Whether it’s a Secret Santa at work or a family gift exchange, plant the seed of health with friends, family and co-workers by gifting them with something they can use to get their wellness on! New workout gear, a heartrate monitor, or a new cookbook are all great gifts that can help your loved ones stay motivated.

Eat Joyfully (and Mindfully) – instead of focusing on the big feasts, the bottomless bottles of wine, and the endless plates of dessert – focus on the people with whom you’re eating, the meaningful conversations, and the one plate you’ve fixed for yourself at the table. Take a moment to give thanks for the meal you’re about to eat and the people you’re eating it with – and enjoy it. Take notice of the festive flavors and spices, the sweet and the savory, the tender and crunchy textures, and really try to be present with each bite and each sip.

Take time to RELAX – It’s safe to say that we haven’t quite grasped the concept of work-life balance here in North America, so the idea of relaxing is somewhat foreign. The body and the mind need rest, and we tend to find every reason under the sun to not give the body what it needs. Make yourself a promise in the next two weeks and find at least one day to unplug, make no plans, and really rest. Sleep all day, spend the day in your PJ’s reading a book by the fire, or spend an afternoon at a cozy coffee shop with a warm cuppa tea and a journal. Whatever your idea of relaxation is – promise yourself one day of that. Your mind and body will thank you.

Perspective Goes a Long Way – It’s easy to lose sight of what the holidays are all about when you’re trying to navigate the chaos of Christmas shopping during your lunch hour, and getting all caught up at work before you have the in-laws staying over for a week of “fun”. Take a moment and do something nice for someone in need this time around. Get together with friends or family and volunteer at a soup kitchen, or even keep it simple and donate some canned food items, games and toys, or clothing to a shelter. Helping others is always a win. It’s amazing how a little bit of perspective can help give you a sense of clarity for what matters most…and more often than not, that’s not a number on a scale, or how many calories you overate. At the end of the day, what matters most is our health and happiness, and the health and happiness of our loved ones.

Your holidays can be healthy if you choose to make them that way. Start today, stay consistent, and continue to focus on the wins each and every day. I wish you all a very happy holiday, and a wonderful start to 2019!