Self-care during the holidays

Tip: Prioritize self-care to reduce stress, feel energized and fully enjoy the busy holiday season.

By the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group

When life gets busy, self-care is often the first thing we sacrifice. Amidst the stress and mile long to-do lists of the holiday season, it is a challenge to take time for yourself. But a little self-care goes a long way toward ensuring you have the energy to meet your obligations while fully experiencing and enjoying the season. This holiday season, commit to eating well, staying hydrated and active, and getting adequate sleep so you can be effective and able to fully enjoy this busy time of year.

Nourish Yourself

The stress of the holidays, combined with near-constant access to sweets and treats, means many of us end up eating a lot more – and a lot less nutritionally – than we intend. When we succumb to the holiday sweets onslaught, we feel more stressed, have less energy and crave even more sweets. While it is okay to indulge a bit during the holidays, make a point of balancing out your day with extra-nourishing meals that provide your body with the important nutrition it needs. Commit to eating more fruits and vegetables and start each day with a protein-filled breakfast to set yourself on the path for smart eating the rest of the day.

Transform Leftovers into New Meals

You already do a lot of cooking for the holidays – why cook more? Use today’s leftovers as key ingredients for tomorrow’s meals to simplify your life and shorten your to-do list. Check out Chef Marshall’s ideas for turning holiday leftovers into savory omelets, using beef and roasted potatoes, turkey and scalloped potatoes, ham and glazed carrots, or something else you have on hand. This type of easy, nourishing food, served either for breakfast or dinner, will provide lasting fuel to tackle that to-do list.

Stay Hydrated

Cold, dry air and holiday drinking make hydration an extra challenge. Fatigue, weakness and sluggishness, all symptoms of dehydration, interfere with your ability to accomplish all your tasks and enjoy the holidays. Carry a bottle of water with you throughout your day; and when at dinner or holiday parties, alternate each alcoholic beverage with a full glass of water to stay energized and feel your best.

Get Active

Staying active lifts your spirits and helps manage stress – and helps balance the abundance of holiday eating and overindulgence. Make it a point to get your body moving every day and spend time being active with your loved ones. Take a yoga class, go for a nature walk, go sledding or cross-country skiing, or play a game of football. You be more in the holiday spirit when you are active.

Prioritize Sleep

No matter how long your to-do list, it will feel more overwhelming when you are sleep-deprived. And since lack of sleep is associated with overeating and craving fat and sugar, a good night’s sleep will help you resist going back for second helpings from the cookie tray. Adequate sleep also supports your immune system, helping you avoid the dreaded holiday cold or flu.

Give to Yourself, Give to Others

‘Tis the season of giving – and when you give to yourself first, you have more energy to give to others. Prioritize self-care this month to enjoy your holidays more and have a happy, healthy start to the new year.

You will love the way you feel!

Chef Marshall O’BrienThe Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.