Staying Sane: Navigating the Holidays

By Guest Blogger

Elena Skroznikova is a certified nutrition counselor, science-based health coach, and addiction survivor. Looking ahead to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and all of the holidays in December, we are sharing with you some of Elena’s holiday-preparation tips — as these may be useful for anyone seeking to not overindulge in a season that is practically dedicated to just that! Here are a few of her suggestions for getting through the onslaught with your sanity intact:

Food Strategies

ENJOY YOURSELF! It’s ok to give yourself a little leeway around food during the holidays, as long as you try to choose the healthiest options (high quality, low-sugar, whole-grain) and follow some essential rules.

EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST Seriously, every day. Whole grains like steel-cut oats, brown rice, and buckwheat are some of my favorites. Low blood sugar is a relapse trigger for food and alcohol addiction. By making breakfast a staple, you’ll be less likely to succumb to overeating and over-snacking.

DRINK WATER Sometimes, when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just dehydrated. Staying hydrated keeps up energy levels, eases digestion, and helps reduce cravings. I prefer to sip hot or warm water for its cleansing effects on the body. Add a twist of lemon for a little anti-inflammatory zing.

TAKE FISH OIL During the holidays, when I know I’m going to eat a little more, I double up on my fish oil supplements to combat inflammation. I recommend EFA Essentials from Pure Encapsulations.

Emotional Strategies

BREATHE Remember to stop what you’re doing and take three deep breaths during your day. A deep breath calms our thoughts and re-sets the mind.

SLOW DOWN It’s ok to press pause in the middle of all this chaos, even when the chaos is celebration. I try to schedule a day or two in December when I have nothing scheduled and nowhere to go, a day to recover. When that’s not possible, a one-hour nap can really pick me up!

MOVE YOUR BODY Exercise is the fastest mood and health booster. Don’t wait until January to join a gym or start a health routine. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Just a half hour of brisk walking, yoga, cycling, dance, or almost anything that gets you moving will help you look and feel better, relieve tension, reduce stress, and boost immunity. Pick something you can stick to and enjoy.

TAKE A WALK Step outside. A short walk really helps me clear my head.

MEDITATE Consistent meditation and yoga are wonderful tools of support. (I focus more on self-care in December than at any other time of the year!)

DO LESS Don’t go to so many parties; cross some of those things off your To Do list. Also, don't stress over gifts! I simplify holiday shopping by picking up treats at  the farmers' market. Special olive oils are a simple, tasty staple of my gift list.

RELAX I have found that taking the supplement GABA, a soothing neurotransmitter associated with sleep, has a powerful calming effect on the brain when taken before bed.

To read the full article and access more resources from Elena Skroznikova, visit

Tags: Arana Craftsman Painters, Interior House Painting, holiday, Mental health

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