I can't believe that we're almost through the first three weeks of December!
Whether, like me, you've found that the past couple of months have really flown by, or you've been impatiently counting down the days, the fact remains that the festive season is here.
Cue stringing the holiday lights, putting the Michael Buble Christmas album on repeat, and whipping up your favourite seasonal treats.
But, unfortunately, this time of year can also go hand in hand with feeling a whole lot of stress.
Between last-minute shopping, finishing up work for the year, and coordinating all the family visits, it's easy for the holidays to feel a lot more chaotic than jolly.
We also might find that our normal routines are disrupted by less sleep, less movement, and different foods and drinks than normal.
Add all that together, and it's easy for the festive season to wreak havoc on both our stress levels and our hormones.
But - there's no need to be a Scrooge and miss out on all the fun.
In my opinion, fueling some of the toxic attitudes that crop up around holiday food just creates more stress and lessens our enjoyment.
There's no need to create guilt and shame around what we're eating or not eating, how much we've exercised or rested, or what number of calories we need to "work off" the next day.
Instead, I think we can do ourselves a lot more good by carving out bits of self-care to carry us through the stress.
This helps keep us - and our hormones - a lot more balanced, through the holidays and after.
So where do you start?
Self-care can take many forms, such as remembering to stay hydrated and taking moments to step back from your busy schedule and rest.
It'll look a little different for everyone, and it's always best to adjust your strategies based on what feels most useful to you.
But my number one tip for holiday eating is to keep your blood sugar balanced.
Normally we only hear about blood sugar in the context of diabetes, but the truth is, everyone can benefit from eating (and drinking) in a way that promotes steady blood sugar.
There are 3 main ways to do that:
1. Eat regularly.
No fasting all day before the big meal, which tends to trigger bingeing and can leave you feeling cranky and stressed.
2. Eat fat, fibre, and protein with meals and snacks.
Enjoying desserts close to these meals and snacks can also help prevent the higher sugar content in sweets from disrupting our stress levels and hormone balance, too.
3. Caffeinate and drink responsibly.
Mimosas at breakfast? Irish coffee? Boozy hot chocolate? Sign me up!
I'm certainly not about to tell you to ditch these holiday staples entirely.
But remember to have these drinks close to a filling meal or snack and to be mindful of their sugar content if you're having multiple drinks.
Balancing your blood sugar can help prevent mood swings, increase energy levels, and keep holiday stress in check.
And by effectively managing your stress, you can prevent hormonal symptoms like PMS, painful periods, or menopausal woes like hot flashes.
It allows you to make the most of this season and head into the new year feeling both balanced and refreshed.
So happy holidays! I wish you a safe, rewarding, and delicious celebration with family and friends.
See you in the new year!