how to stay healthy for the holidays

by: Jessica Shelby @freddiesdaughter

The holidays are a beloved time of year. But between holiday food, family obligations, financial gifting pressure and of course, the stress that has come with COVID this year, this season can be difficult to navigate. I am not a proponent of a restriction mindset, especially during the holidays. But it is important to identify the difference between enjoying yourself and overindulging; one makes you feel good, the other makes you feel sick. This holiday season, I want to highlight three things you can ADD to your holidays, rather than take away, to help you stay healthy and feel good!

Mocktails Between Cocktails

Booze has certainly become many peoples’ friend this year, and with the holidays comes Eggnog, mulled wine, champagne or the “I need a drink”. Though drinking is fun in the moment, it also lowers your immune system and can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and sickness. While enjoying your favorite holiday drinks, try adding some non-alcoholic drinks into the mix. This will help you slow down and prevent overindulgence. You can opt for a glass of water in between drinks, or make a fun mocktail. I love putting CBD oil in my mocktails as an alternative to alcohol. It really gives me that “taking the edge off” feeling but without the hangover! Here’s a recipe I made recently that was a hit: 

- 2oz fresh pomegranate juice
- ½ lime
- ¼ tsp of fresh grated ginger
- ½ tsp honey
- 1 ml of zadaka strawberry drops

Shake it all together with ice, pour into your favorite glass and top with sparkling water.

Crowd Out

The conversation around healthy eating often focuses on what to remove from your diet. But I find it is more effective to focus on what you can add. Focusing on eliminating foods can cause intense feelings of deprivation, which usually leads to binging.  When you focus instead on adding more nutritious foods, you get more food possibilities and naturally start to have less room for unhealthy items. For example, the day of your holiday dinner try adding a fresh salad filled with veggies to your day. Or at your dinner try adding salad and vegetables to your plate first before digging in to the rest of the food. Adding in healthy options like vegetables, lean protein and fruit, ensures you are getting lots of nutrients and fills you up. By filling up first on healthy foods you naturally start to eat less indulgent foods.

Schedule Self-Care

Having time to relax and get a break is something we all look forward to during the holidays. But between coordinating family, gifts, last minute work and food sometimes it can be difficult to find a moment to yourself. Something that helps me ensure I get time for self-care is scheduling it into my calendar. Whether it’s to workout, take a bath, meditate or go on a walk, I treat my self care like an appointment. I also let my loved ones know I will be unavailable for that time. This strategy can help you keep your commitment to yourself because both you and those around you will know exactly when you are in self care mode. Even if it is only 15 minutes, getting a moment to take care of yourself completely changes your mood and elevates your day.

However your holidays look this year, remember to give yourself grace and enjoy the happy moments. I know this year has been a tough one, and we all deserve some love and joy this holiday season.


Jessica is a holistic health guide and is currently studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Trained as a lawyer, Jessica has observed the toll high stress work environments can take on people’s health. Jessica helps busy professionals find a healthy balance so they can live with joy and excel in every aspect of their life.

Follow Jessica for more health tips here

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