Stay Active  – Get your steps in.  Remember, you don’t have to be at the gym to get activity in, just move.  Fit in exercise when and wherever you can.  Take lunch time walks, try a home workout video, meet friends for a fun fitness class, or play with kids. Whatever gets your heart rate up, do it at least once a day for at least 15 minutes.

Choose Real Food – The holidays are FILLED with treats and sweets.  The best way to avoid holiday weight gain and decreased mood while supporting your immune system is to avoid the ‘goodies’ and embrace real, balanced food.  Aim to make half your plate veggies for each meal (yup, even breakfast).  Embrace your leafy greens, bright red, orange, purple and yellow veggies. Avoid processed, fried, and sugary foods. If the ingredients list is more than a few lines, ditch it. Remember, the healthiest food typically don’t come with a label.

Practice Moderation – How many of you scoffed at the above recommendations? Well, if you have holiday foods and drinks that you absolutely can’t pass up, then practice moderation.  Choose which will be a treat, grant yourself an appropriate portion size, and enjoy it mindfully.  Set boundaries for yourself and avoid the temptation to over indulge.

Be Positive – The holidays can bring on stress, but they also bring a lot of love, giving and togetherness.  Remind yourself to keep things in perspective and focus on joyfulness.  If you have trouble keeping balance with your stress, practice daily stress management techniques such as, positive affirmations, medication, exercise,  and/or therapy.  Stress management is unique to each individual, find a healthy technique that works for you and commit to a daily practice.

Get Enough Zzzzs ­– Sleep is important for our immune system, stress management, metabolism and general well-being.  I recommend setting a bedtime and wake time for each day that allows you 8 hours of quality sleep.  Commit to ‘powering down’ one hour before bedtime in order to allow you circadian rhythm to help you naturally fall asleep. This means turning off all electronics: TV, computers, smart phones, etc.  Don’t worry, they will be there when you wake up.

Budget – Yes, the holidays can be expeeeenisve.  Set a monetary budget that you are comfortable with and create a plan to stick with it.  Not only do you need to budget your money, but also your time and energy.  Ask yourself how much time you need (or want) to spend on certain activities such as self-care, family, holiday parties, shopping, exercise, etc.  Spend time evaluating your priorities, write it down and make a plan.

Delegate – If you are a person that can’t say no, learn to delegate.  We all need help at times, and we need to admit to it. If you have too much on your plate, speak up and ask who can pitch in to share the load.  You may be surprised at who has been waiting for the invite to help.

Listen to Your Body – Our body is constantly communicating with us.  Listen to your body when it is telling you to slow down, eat a wholesome meal, get more sleep, and manage your stress.  Make time to check in with yourself: are you taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually.