Coping with the holidays

Coping with the holidays

The holidays can be a daunting time when we’re on a lifestyle change journey; we can experience all sorts of emotions including happiness, stress, loneliness and sadness. It can even be normal to feel conflicting feelings of joy for example if you are having a good time with your family, but also sadness if this festive season reminds you of people you can’t celebrate with or have lost.This might be particularly so this year, as some of us may have experienced sadness and loss during the year.

It is absolutely OK to feel two or more conflicting feelings at the same time. Take time to remember and acknowledge the sadnesses, but give yourself permission to have a good time too, without feeling guilty.  These emotions can often make it much harder for us to do the things we set out to; our SMART goal for example. This can feel frustrating and send us further off track with our health plans.

Furthermore, the holiday season brings about a change in our food and drink environment; food can become central to our cultural celebrations, supermarkets increase the enticing offers and we may find ourselves eating/drinking with different people to usual. It’s not surprising that the average person gains 1lb/0.5kg across the holiday season with all this change. It’s OK to feel that this might be a challenge. Be realistic with yourself.

Top tips from our specialist clinical team:

  • Make a list of things that you like to do for yourself and make time to do them
  • Make a plan for when you will eat ‘treat foods’ and enjoy them mindfully (avoid distractions and really focus on the flavour and texture)
  • Being physically active is a great mood leveller; you may prefer to focus your goals on this for the time being
  • Be kind to yourself; if things don’t go to plan acknowledge you are only human and move on
  • Focus on the things you can enjoy and do, rather than too much on the things you can’t.  If you focus on the things/foods you want to avoid it will probably make you want these even more

We would love for you to share ideas and support each other through this tricky time using your programme community…What are you looking forward to about the holidays? What are you not looking forward to? What solutions might there be to any challenges?

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