The holiday season will be here shortly, and I imagine things will look differently this year. We might not be traveling or having a huge family gathering or that traditional feast, but one thing that should be constant year-to-year is that attitude of gratitude. Thanksgiving is much more than just the turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Even in this crazy COVID-19 year, there is still a lot to be thankful for, but it is easy to get caught up in the negativity and overlook the blessings that surround us.
We all would agree that 2020 has challenged us physically and emotionally. This pandemic has created stress in our homes, at our work and in our families. COVID-19 has challenged our education system, our small businesses and has turned our social system upside down. Nothing is normal and it has affected all ages. If you found yourself stress eating or snacking out of boredom, you are not alone. You may have put on some extra pounds during these stressful months. Rather than let this take over, stop now and refocus and reevaluate your overall health and wellness. Eating healthy around the holidays can be difficult, but it is possible. Stop making holiday events all about food and focus on spending time with loved ones even if it has to be in a smaller setting. Enjoy some of your favorite holiday foods, but do this without over indulging or maybe just skip the gravy! Appreciate the traditions and make new memories.
There is no better time than now to start making small, healthful changes. This might mean including one more serving of vegetables a day, drinking more water, establishing a better sleep routine, starting a new hobby to help de-stress or finding time to be active. Maybe write down everything you eat because often times if you have to write it down you might not eat it. Choose one or two small changes to focus on at a time. The longer we incorporate these healthy changes into our daily routine the easier it will get.
You can finish 2020 with a new, positive outlook and make your overall health a priority but it is a decision you have to make. By taking care of yourself, it will allow you to be healthier and help take care of loved ones if needed. Take time during this holiday season to reflect on the many things you are thankful for. I am guessing family and health are on the top of your list! Most importantly, you need to make these adjustments as others can’t do it for you but they will be grateful you did. So choose gratitude over gravy as you do have much to be thankful for.
Abby Kipfer, Registered Dietitian
This blog also ran in the Citizen – click here to view online article.