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7 Tips For Holiday Health

Personal health · Dec 13, 2021

The holidays are a wonderful time to connect with family and friends. However, the good times are peppered with stress over finances, eating habits, and getting enough exercise. The following tips will help you jingle all the way to a healthy holiday season!

1) Nourish mindfully

The holidays are a time to enjoy and honour the traditional foods that have been prepared with care and love. Savor your special meal while eating mindfully and thoughtfully.

Sit down to eat—We can’t truly enjoy food unless we are comfortable, focused and unhurried.

Eat mindfully—Notice the food in front of you; the colours, the aroma and the texture.

Enjoy your holiday favourites—Acknowledge the once-a-year traditional foods that make the season special.

Practice gratitude—Celebrations are a perfect time to stop and be thankful for the bountiful food in front of you.

2) Sleep soundly

Adequate sleep will help give you the patience to deal with stressful situations. And the more rested you are, the more enjoyable the holidays will be! To help you sleep better:

Limit caffeine and alcohol—Especially close to bedtime.

Offset a late night—A short 20-minute nap can help you maintain your festive good humor!

Follow a sleep routine—Adhering to a bedtime routine will help trigger sleep hormones.

Meditate—The calming power of meditation cannot be overstated.  A few minutes of deep breathing can do wonders!

3) Budget wisely

Financial stress is linked to poor mental health (see source #1). Create a holiday budget and stick to it so there is no lingering debt into the new year.

Plan a gift exchange—Cut down on your gift list.

Spend time together—Forgo gift-giving and opt for in-person or virtual time together.

If you do come in under budget—Donate to a worthy cause or put it away for next year’s holiday purchases.

It’s never too early to start saving—Set up a monthly automatic transfer from your chequing to your holiday account.

4) Plan simply

Make a list of your holiday to-dos and check off completed items.

Plan ahead—Schedule time for shopping, baking, contacting friends. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list.

Enlist help—Share the burden by asking family members to help prep, cook and clean.

Be realistic—Avoid overscheduling by choosing a few simple traditions to hold on to and let the others go.

Take a breather—Make some time for yourself. Spending time alone, without distractions, will help you re-energize.

5) Exercise regularly

It’s well known that exercise help reduce anxiety and improves mood (see source #2). Make a holiday fit list and check it off twice!

Battle the binge—Pause your favourite holiday movie or series every 20 minutes and perform 2 minutes of squats, planks, jumping jacks, stretches.

Turn up the intensity—Perform 12 burpees, 12 squats, 12 push-ups – rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 5 minutes.

Fit it in—During meal prep perform a variety of on-the-spot exercises e.g. calf raises, counter-top push-aways, travelling lunges.

Walk it off—Walk during your lunch break, to do errands and in the evening to see the neighbourhood lights.

6) Give thoughtfully

Looking for simple ways to give back this holiday season?

Volunteer—There are volunteer opportunities – both virtual and in-person—food banks, telephone chats to seniors & individuals with disabilities, animal foster parenting to name a few. 

Give—to a shelter or food bank.

Create a Shoebox Project—Create a shoebox gift with co-workers, book clubs and friends, for women, living in shelters. The Shoeboxes contain special gifts and gift cards to buy items of greatest need. Find a chapter near you at

Help—Offer to do the shopping for an elderly family member or neighbour.  Clear the snow off a car, shovel a sidewalk or driveway. 

7) Connect intentionally

Stay connected with family and friends this holiday season.

Reach out—to friends and family with a quick note or email. If the holidays are too busy – plan a get-together, virtual or in person, after the New Year when things are quieter. 

Be kind—Even though we may be caught up in shopping, planning and preparing celebrations – a little kindness goes a long way.

Set aside differences—Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they fall short of your expectations. Set aside grievances and address them at a more appropriate time.

Express gratitude—Tell family, friends and co-workers how important they are – and that you are grateful for their love, friendship and support.

Remember to embrace the spirit of the holidays, express gratitude, take care of your loved ones and take a little time for yourself.

Have a safe holiday season and a Happy New Year!


  1. Manulife (2016). Financial Stress and Mental Health - How Financial Stress Can Impact Mental Health in Your Workplace. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from

  2. Sharma, A., Madaan, V. et Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for Mental Health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from

Authored by:
Amanda Firby & Andrea Forsyth
Fitness and Wellness Consultants

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