Happy (almost) Halloween! I find it a little ironic that the last day of our 31 day series on detoxing falls on one of the most sugar-saturated holidays of the year. But perhaps it’s fitting; holiday over-indulgences are one of the prime triggers that get people thinking about detox, after all. So far this series we’ve looked at all kinds of cheap, easy detox options that you can use to help you get back on track if you over do it enjoying lavish witches’ brews and other ghoulish treats this weekend.
For many people, Halloween formally kicks off two solid months of festivities. We spend weeks surrounded by tables groaning with cookies, pies, and pastries of every size, shape, and flavor. The handful of vegetables wedged into a corner somewhere serves primarily as a vehicle for shoveling up massive quantities of dip (almost always loaded with sugars, rancid fats, flavor enhancers, and other unwelcome ingredients). It’s no wonder we’re crying uncle and crawling towards the nearest detox program flier come New Years!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, I’d like to show you three simple ways you can start to restructure your holidays to make them less toxic and less stressful.
1. Decide What Matters. What makes the holidays (0r any holiday) special for you? Is it filling your home with lights, decor and music? Is it meals shared with family and friends? Is it a few cherished traditions passed down through generations? What makes it special for your spouse, or your kids? Decide what matters, and make it a priority. Gently but firmly say no thank you to anything that interferes with or doesn’t support what is meaningful to you. It sounds simple and, in a way, it is. It can be hard to turn people down, or to excuse yourself from things that seem “good”, but there’s only so much time and energy to be had. Don’t make apologies for devote them to the things that feed your soul.
2. Start A New Tradition. Look for places where your typical or past habits haven’t supported what you know to be meaningful to you. Ask yourself which existing traditions might open for change, and where you might cultivate new ones. Can you trade in your cookie exchange for a chance to swap favorite (even healthy?) snacks, appetizers, soups or stews? Could you start featuring signature, trendy, or retro virgin drinks and mocktails at your holiday party? What about air popping popcorn and making gourmet hot chocolate from scratch at an at-home holiday movie night? Or perusing a unique stocking stuffer list or two and giving your coworkers something more fun (and sugar laden) than candy or cookies for Christmas this year? Even if you start very small, building or adapting traditions that give your body a break from the sugar and stress of the holidays can be very powerful!
3. Arm Your Arsenal. Stock your fridge, freezer, pantry, car, desk and bag with clean, whole foods, snacks and desserts. Stock up on everything from party options (chips and hummus?), and travel-friendly rations, to clean indulgences that will you feeling satisfied and festive without toxic side effects. Find a sparkling grape juice or mocktail you enjoy, and lay in enough to see you through the season. Identify restaurants in your area where you know you can find good, clean options and suggest them when planning to meet someone. Nothing will help you battle the crashing tides of sugar and toxic fats that flood the holidays like having healthy, easy, and appealing alternatives at your fingertips.
4. Build In White Space. Rest is essential to good health. When the snow starts to fly and the lines get long, everything can take longer than you expect. Unexpected delays, opportunities, and events pop up; people get sick. Recognize that this will happen and intentionally build spare time into every week – every day, if you can – to give yourself the grace and breathing room to get through and still have enough time to unwind and sleep. Block it out on your planner with a code word, automatically schedule everything for half an hour longer than it is “supposed to” take. The method doesn’t matter; doing it consistently does. Try it. See if it doesn’t change your life.
5. Remember the cost. Here it is, guys. The one thing that has truly made the most difference for me: remember the cost. It could be a plate of cookies, another glass of wine, a plea to volunteer somewhere, or an invitation to a party – anything that threatens to drag you off the course you’ve set, into the meaningful and away from the toxic excesses and stress. When you look at it, don’t see the cookie, the wine, or the party. See the cost: the bloat, fuzzy head, or tiredness you’ll be hit with in the morning from that sugary dessert or wine; the stress, exhaustion, or loss of precious time with family or close friends from adding yet another party to the schedule. Ask yourself if that thing tempting you is worth the real, full cost. If the answer is yes, go for it. If not, pass. No matter anyone else thinks!
So there you go. Five simple ways to detox your holidays that change your life. Will you give them a go this year?