Seven Tips for Wellness
Erin Haslag is a holistic wellness coach and consultant at WELL in L.A., where she helps clients manage the whole scope of wellness, from diet and exercise to mental health and interpersonal relationships. I first met her at a Creative Connection event where she was dropping tons of tips to keep us busy professionals healthy and sane! I use one or more of her tips every day, so I was thrilled when she agreed to share even more here on the blog. Happy holidays, indeed…
On the seventh day of Christmas… I start to feel the weight of my holiday transgressions. The extra cup of hot cocoa, the sweet and sticky breakfast pastry, followed by colorful cookies and candy. Even your resident health and wellness coach likes to cut loose and indulge a little around the holidays. I love everything about the holidays, but how does one graciously accept all the invitations, the food and drink, manage a busy schedule and keep the stress levels low? Not to mention keeping up with the exercise and healthy eating we KNOW we should be doing.
I’m a firm believer in having a plan (download a free plan here!). Nothing too rigid, but a loose framework that helps you to keep the holidays (and vacations) in check. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks, the best of which I’m sharing with you as the holiday season is upon us.
After reading through this list, pick and choose the options that seem to be a best fit for your lifestyle. Make a plan. Post it on your bathroom mirror, the visor of your car or as a memo in your calendar or phone. (Bonus points if you share that plan with a person who can help keep you accountable for it.) Make an agreement that it’s okay for them to gently nag as needed.
- Keep a routine as much as possible. This may mean you can only do so with the first half of your day, but knowing you have a little control over your schedule will go a long way. Structure and plan your blocks of time in 3-4 hour segments, outline what needs to happen and use the time constructively. There’s nothing worse than trying to juggle too much in one day and depriving yourself of sleep as you scramble to finish things. (Bonus tip: my favorite productivity tools are found here!)
- Activate your immune system! Okay – it’s always on and working, but there are little tricks and tips you can apply to keep it well-tuned throughout the holidays. Big hug and kiss from your little nephew nasty cold? No worries! You’re keeping your immune system defending you from potentially annoying viruses by sleeping 7-8 hours a night, working out or moving 30 minutes a day (break a little sweat!) and eating foods high in Vitamin C, like bell peppers, kale, citrus fruits and spinach.
- Grocery shop every 2-3 days. Maybe you’re a person who likes to shop in one fell swoop at the beginning of the week, but with the holidays and the unexpected parties, I find it is much easier to make quick trips to the store, armed with a 2-3 day food plan versus buying for a full week. This keeps me from having to throw out foods unnecessarily, which creates less waste and saves money.
- Stock the pantry with quick, healthy items. Nuts, berries, oats, quinoa, organic and whole-food based food bars are staples in my pantry throughout the holiday season. I can quickly and easily grab a handful of trail mix if my blood sugar dips or if I know I’m on my way to a party with less-than-healthy fare. Subdue the hunger and wait for a better option post-party.
- Press or blend your fruits and veggies. Getting the 5-7 fruits and veggies each day can seem like a lot at times. You can reap the full benefits by combining them into a drink at the beginning or throughout your day. Spinach is one of the best incognito veggies and pairs very nicely with fruit. In fact, I haven’t found a fruit that it doesn’t blend well with to date! If you have a juicer, you can add a variety of fruits and veggies, creating healthy concoctions that deliver the good stuff straight to all of your organs.
- Don’t go too low… low-fat that, is! Load up on healthy fats that satiate the need for substantial foods and keep your brain happy. It’s powerhouse organ that needs to be fed fat to keep everything running smoothly. I can’t promise you won’t forget your keys in the freezer drive off with the bottle of wine on top of your car on the way to the party, but the instances of this happening will substantially decrease. Healthy fats can be found in avocados, coconut oil, walnuts, almonds, fatty fish like salmon and hemp, flax and grapeseed oils.
- Sleep (in heavenly peace). Drinking too much or being stressed can lead to poor sleep. We can get away with a less than desirable night of sleep once in awhile, but our bodies and minds prefer to have 4-5 REM cycles each night (one cycle is about 90 minutes). If you drank too much, have a carb-based snack before bed with at least 8 ounces of water. If you’re having trouble falling asleep due to stress, try foods that naturally contain melatonin, like dried cherries, walnuts or grapes combined with 6-8 oz. of caffeine-free herbal tea.