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Mindful Corner: the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here and although celebrations undoubtedly look different this year, you may still feel there are greater amounts of sweets, comfort foods, and activity around. Continuing to practice mindfulness techniques may make the holiday season more enjoyable and less stressful. Check out the holiday mindfulness tips below.

  1. Practice diaphragmatic breathing. As discussed in one of our previous Mindful Corner posts, diaphragmatic breathing involves breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth as your stomach (rather than your chest) rises and falls. This technique may help to calm things down, particularly during the stress of buying gifts for your loved ones or the heightened stress related to the pandemic during the holiday season.
  2. Use the plate method. Although your holidays this year likely include only those in your household, the plate method is still a great technique to use when there are various dishes (including desserts) on the table. Aim to fill half of your plate with greens and vegetables, a quarter of your plate with lean proteins, and a quarter of your plate with carbohydrates. Using this method will help to regulate blood sugar, which will likely make you have more energy after your meals.
  3. Consider how you can spend your time off. If you are taking some time off from work this holiday season, consider which relaxing activities you’d like to engage in, such as doing a craft with your family, watching seasonal movies, reading, or listening to music. Days off also provide a great opportunity to increase physical activity, such as walking with your dog, dancing, or doing exercise videos. This extra time will also allow more video chats and phone calls with your friends and family.
  4. Plan for which holiday celebrations are your favorite. Consider which days of the season are the most important to you, and plan to have the sweet treats on those days. You will likely enjoy them more and feel better overall after the holiday season. As cited in last month’s Mindful Corner post, clinical psychologist Jean Kristeller explains that, “Our taste buds are chemical sensors that tire quickly…The first few bites of a food taste better than the next few bites, and after a large amount, we may have very little taste experience left at all” [i]. Thus, mini desserts may also be a helpful and satisfying way to go.

For more resources on navigating the holidays and the New Year, take a look at this post. Our Savor Health Team wishes you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!

Reference:

[i] Novotney A. (2012). Bite, chew, savor. Psychologist Profile. Monitor on Psychology, 43(10): 42. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/11/bite-chew

Jenna Koroly, MS, RD, CDN

Jenna is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been a part of the Savor Health team since October 2016, and gained further clinical knowledge in oncology while performing nutrition assessments at Northern Westchester Hospital and Amsterdam Nursing Home as a dietetic intern. Jenna provides nutrition counseling for patients in Medical Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery settings at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. She is passionate about nutrition therapy and exercise for oncology patients.

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