10 Unhealthy Habits to Break This Holiday

During the holidays, family, friends, and loved ones get together to celebrate life and have a good time. It is also a time when we might fall into bad habits with food, drinking, and managing our time and money. This guide is designed to help you figure out some of the worst unhealthy habits to break this holiday.

Key takeaways:

10 unhealthy habits to break this holiday

Making sure your bad habits don't take over your good ones this holiday season might seem like a mammoth task, but don't be disheartened. You can still have a lot of fun, socialize to your heart's content, and spend time celebrating while working on these unwanted holiday habits.

1. Overspending

It can be hard to choose the best gifts, foods, and treats for everyone. Between the office Christmas party, family and friends, and all the meals, there are a lot of extra outgoings. But if you take on too much debt, you might be stressed and worried about money all through the holidays and into the new year. Do not let how much you spend to show how much you love the people in your life. Instead of getting the newest, most expensive gadgets, try to focus on quality time, experiences, and thoughtful acts.

Think about getting crafty and making some gifts, they will be filled with so much more meaning than something store bought.

2. Not drinking enough water

Countless scientific studies have told us again and again the importance of staying hydrated for optimal health and cellular functioning. But, in the colder weather and with all the rushing around for holiday season prep, many of us forget to drink enough and then wonder why we are tired and cranky. Staying hydrated will also help with the energy levels we need for all the social and family engagements that can come with the holidays.

Carry a liter bottle of water around with you and set reminders on your cellphone to take a drink every hour. When it’s empty, fill up and ensure you’ve finished it by the end of the day.

3. Not exercising

With busy schedules, social engagements, and family commitments, it's so easy to forgo exercise during the holiday season. However, using the break as an excuse to drop your movement practices is unwise and can lead to unhealthy habits developing in the new year.

Instead of trying to do an hour at the gym every day, make a commitment to do 10 - 20 minutes of at-home exercise every day. You are much more likely to succeed and continue if it’s a manageable amount.

4. Late night binge-eating

Eating late at night isn’t great for our digestive systems, as it takes a lot of energy to process food—energy that needs to be spent repairing and renewing while we sleep. It can be especially tempting to graze on all the extra snacks that tend to be around during the holiday season or munch our way through leftover roast veggies and meat.

Always put leftover food in containers and refrigerate it soon after the meal. Put tempting snacks away in high up cupboards. Drink warm herbal teas before bed to help with hunger pangs.

5. Sacrificing sleep

The holiday season is often filled with more social engagements that can run late into the evenings, especially on work nights as different businesses and friends throw parties before everyone takes time off for Christmas. As tempting as all the parties might be, don’t sacrifice your sleep health just for a few more hours of fun. At best, you’ll end up tired and cranky; at worst, your immune system will be impacted, leaving you prone to a seasonal cold.

If you attend work parties or social events during the week, make a commitment to yourself to leave at a reasonable time in order to get a full night's sleep before work or taking care of kids the next day.

6. Working through lunch

At any time of the year, this is a terrible habit that a lot of people with desk jobs have. It is too easy to just grab a sandwich or a packed lunch and eat it while scrolling through your phone, checking email, or talking on the phone. But, we need to take a break from the computer every so often. It is better for our minds and bodies to get up, move around, and stop working for a while during the day.

Take yourself out on lunch dates away from your desk. Arrange to meet a friend for a walk around town on your break or steal a quick half hour at the gym if it’s close by.

7. Excessive alcohol consumption

Alcohol consumption skyrockets around the holiday season as more people celebrate, throw parties, and attend seasonal events. However, drinking alcohol isn’t good for our bodies, and excessive consumption can be dangerous. Stay within the recommended drinking limits, and if you or anyone you know seems like they might have a problem with alcohol, then seek professional advice.

Pick at least 4 days in your calendar each week to be completely sober during the holidays. On those days you can try non-alcoholic beers, wine, and kombucha for refreshments instead of alcoholic drinks.

8. Eating too much sugar

There are lots of sweet treats around during the holidays. Every day, people bring cakes and sweet drinks to work, and stores are full of sweets that look delicious. Limiting your sugar intake can help you avoid gaining extra weight over the holidays and may also lower your risk for some long-term diseases.

Make a list and stick to it when you go grocery shopping. And, it’s a good idea to pack a few healthy snacks like nuts or toasted seeds that you can munch if you feel tempted by the overflowing cookie jar at home or work.

9. Saying yes when you want to say no

We all want to spend time with our friends and family, but overcommitting during the holidays can lead to stress and burnout. Prioritizing self-care is key to preserving mental and physical well-being and if that means you don’t go out to dinner with your mom’s best friend from high school, then that's okay. You don’t have to say yes to everything just because it’s the holidays.

Make sure you schedule self-care into your diary, and if someone invites you out on a day that’s blocked out for personal time, then just tell them you are booked that day and pick another time.

10. Overeating

Many of us overindulge in food during the holidays—it's the season of the second helping, and it can be hard to exercise restraint when there always seems to be a huge dinner somewhere. Indulgent feasting can be great, but overeating can lead to discomfort and digestive issues.

Mindful eating is a wonderful practice and involves taking your time with food, savoring every bite, and chewing your food well. You’ll also notice the feeling of being full before you finish your first plate, so won’t be so tempted with a second helping.

Many of us find it tempting and easy to break our regular health and routines during the holidays. However, focusing on creating a balance between celebrating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital for the sake of your long-term well-being. You should go into January well-rested, with a clear head, and ready for the energy of a new year.

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