holiday party

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and making cherished memories with loved ones. It’s an opportunity to revel in the warmth of festive gatherings and partake in the delightful traditions that mark this special time of year. However, amidst the sparkle and cheer, it’s common to encounter the temptation of overindulgence. Whether it’s in the form of lavish feasts, an abundance of sweet treats, or the festive cheer of holiday drinks, it’s easy to find oneself swept up in the excess that often accompanies these celebrations.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the festive offerings, finding a balance is key to maintaining your well-being and savoring the season’s joys without the after-effects of overindulgence. This guide offers practical tips and thoughtful strategies to help you navigate the holiday season with mindfulness and moderation. By staying present, planning ahead, and making intuitive decisions, you can fully enjoy the holiday festivities while keeping your health and happiness in mind. Let’s explore how to celebrate responsibly and create a holiday experience that’s both enriching and enjoyable.

Seek support and accountability

Navigating the festive season without overindulging can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Creating a support network with friends or family members who share your goals can make a significant difference. Start by having an open conversation about your intentions to maintain a healthy balance this holiday season. Encourage each other to share tips, recipes, and strategies for mindful indulgence.

Having an accountability buddy can also be beneficial. Agree to check in regularly, perhaps before and after holiday gatherings, to discuss your experiences and feelings. Celebrate each other’s successes and offer encouragement when things don’t go as planned. Remember, the goal isn’t to restrict joyfully but to find a harmonious balance that keeps you feeling good both physically and mentally.

Stay present and mindful

It’s easy to neglect your routine when planning and celebrating holidays. To maintain your grounding, practice self-care and mindfulness throughout the holiday season. Drink plenty of water, eat until you’re comfortably full, and get enough sleep so your body is well-nourished and rested. When there are quiet moments, meditate or sit quietly and take a few deep breaths.

Plan ahead 

Before going to a holiday party, make a plan to avoid overindulging in food or drink so you don’t feel sick or vulnerable. If you’re worried about drinking too much alcohol, plan to drink one water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. Before you go to a holiday party, eat your regular meals so you’re not tempted to overindulge all at once. You can also immerse yourself in the party by helping the hostess, bringing games to play, and socializing with your loved ones.

Drink lots of water

Drinking water is not only important for hydration, but it also helps you be more intuitive with your eating and drinking habits. Seltzer water is a great “prop” beverage if you’re in a situation where someone may pressure you to drink. If you do feel like you want to drink, you can also use water to dilute it and space out any alcoholic drinks you have with water.

Get in the habit of meal planning

The holiday season is synonymous with indulgent meals, but this doesn’t mean your nutritional balance should take a back seat. Start by planning your meals with a focus on nutrition. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your holiday menus. These nutrient-rich foods can provide a sense of fullness and satisfaction, helping to curb the temptation to overindulge in less healthy options.

Don’t shy away from traditional holiday treats; instead, enjoy them in moderation. Try creating healthier versions of your favorite holiday dishes. For instance, use Greek yogurt as a substitute for cream in dips or mashed potatoes. Emphasize the spices and herbs for flavor, reducing the need for excess salt or sugar. By consciously planning your meals, you can enjoy the holidays without compromising your nutritional goals.

Make intuitive decisions

Especially during the holiday season, many overindulge in food and drink when surrounded by loved ones or attending celebrations. To avoid this, check in with your body periodically so you’ll drink only when you’re thirsty and only eat when you’re hungry. Listen to your body’s cues without judgment. For instance, if you’re craving seconds, don’t restrict yourself. If you’re feeling dehydrated, drink some water. If you’re uncomfortably full, make a to-go plate of dessert you can enjoy the next day when you’re hungry again.

Organize activities

Set up activities for you and your loved ones to do together that aren’t related to food, beverages, or spending money. Not only will it be a fun way to pass the time, but it’ll also keep you occupied and prevent you from overindulging. Organize activities like board games, holiday movie nights, walks, arts and crafts, volunteer work, and other activities to keep your mind focused. 

Limit social media influence

Social media can significantly influence our perceptions and behaviors during the holidays, often setting unrealistic expectations. To avoid the trap of overindulgence influenced by social media, start by setting boundaries for your online engagement. Limit your daily social media usage, especially during the holidays, to avoid constant exposure to idealized holiday scenarios.

Focus on creating authentic experiences rather than replicating what you see online. Remember that social media often presents a curated and enhanced version of reality. Engage with content that inspires positivity and well-being, rather than materialism and excess. If necessary, don’t hesitate to unfollow or mute accounts that trigger feelings of inadequacy or the urge to overindulge. The goal is to enjoy a holiday season that reflects your values and realities, not an influencer’s highlight reel.

Avoid pitfalls

The holidays can be a stressful season. If you know of certain triggers like stress cause you to overindulge in food or drink, take steps to avoid them. Set boundaries and nonnegotiables with friends and family. This may mean you miss a certain event, however, taking time to regroup can help you feel good knowing you’re putting your health first. Set goals with yourself related to overindulgence at the start of the holiday season and change your environment or routine if you find yourself falling short of those goals. 

If you are worried about your or a family member’s substance use this holiday season, feel free to use Wellspring’s help tool for guidance.


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