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    Everything You Don’t Know But Need to About Making (and Achieving) Resolutions

    Welcome to The Everygirl Podcast. Whether you’re looking for insider secrets from successful women that have your dream job, are interested in expert advice to transform your health and feel your best, or just want to be entertained and laugh along with us on your commute, we’ve got you covered.

    Historically, I’ve always loved resolutions. There’s something about setting goals for a new year that just feels so hopeful—that is, until a few months into the new year when I lose motivation to keep up with my goals or forget what I wanted to accomplish in the first place. If even a wellness editor and health coach feels disappointed year after year of failed resolutions, I know other people are feeling let down too, which is why this week on The Everygirl Podcast we’re talking all things setting (and keeping) resolutions. While I’m a sucker for personal growth and I write all day about getting healthier and happier, I’m saying “thank you, next” to new year’s resolutions.
    For one, the foundation of New Year’s resolutions is change—lose weight, work out more, get a promotion, save more money—and glorifying change might tell your brain that you’re not good enough as you are (“new year, new me?” What’s so wrong with the old me?). We’re all working on building more self-love, but there’s a fine line between working toward growth and not feeling enough as is. Plus, resolutions just don’t work. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. So why is it that even the best-intentioned resolutions don’t stick? Read on to find out why resolutions haven’t worked in the past, and check out this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast for advice to set goals that actually last.

    Why is it so hard to stick to resolutions?
    In many cases, the resolutions we set aren’t actually what we value. Do you really want to lose 20 pounds by summer, or is it something you feel you should do to be more confident? Do you really want to earn a graduate degree, or do you just feel unsure about your next career move? We often set resolutions that we think will make us feel happier, more successful, or more confident without realizing that thinking that happiness, success, and confidence are circumstantial distracts us from actually feeling good in our lives as they are. Plus, losing weight doesn’t necessarily make you more confident, just like getting a promotion won’t necessarily make you feel like you’re in the right career path.
    Even if your goals are truly rooted in what you want, things don’t often work out as planned because of outside influences. Not to sound like one of Oprah’s self-help books, but resolutions that are based on the destination instead of the intention are setting you up for failure. If you want that raise by the end of the year, your company might not have the money, even if you worked hard for it. Likewise, if you lose 15 pounds and not 20, you’ll feel like you failed since you didn’t hit your goal instead of feeling proud of what you did accomplish. Instead of making resolutions, consider dedicating 2023 to overall becoming happier, healthier, and better (because we’re growing all the time, not just at the beginning of the new year). Ditch your list of resolutions and do these eight things instead:

    What to Do Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions
    1. Create a list of things you’re looking forward to this year
    You’ve probably thought “2023 is going to be my year,” but why is it going to be your year? Record everything you’re excited about from now until 2024. Do you have a friend’s wedding, a special anniversary, a big life change, a graduation, or a fun birthday celebration? What about the little things, like a new season of your favorite TV show or a list of books you want to get through? What about the even smaller things like the changing of the seasons or recipes you’re excited to cook? You don’t have to wait until 2024 to realize 2023 is “your year.”

    2. Record the lessons you learned in 2022
    Whether in your career, relationships, life circumstances, or happiness and wellness, you can probably see a big difference from where you were this time last year. And when you look at where you are now compared to where you were last decade, the change is even more monumental. You have changed and grown over the year(s), so identify what exactly is different. What lessons have you learned, and in what ways have you grown that you’re proud of? Instead of focusing on what to accomplish next, celebrate how far you’ve come, knowing that you’re doing better than you think.

    3. Book a vacation
    The new year doesn’t have to be about change; it should also be about celebration. Treat yourself to a getaway whenever you can take some PTO, whether it’s that Europe trip you’ve always dreamed about, a long weekend in a nearby city with your best friends, or a summer staycation with your significant other or sister. Not only will a trip be something to look forward to this year, but it will also be a way to remember 2023 for years to come while celebrating all you’ve accomplished in 2022. 

    4. Spend more time with loved ones
    Instead of committing to new things to do, commit to the loved ones who are already in your life. Call your mom more often, schedule weekly coffee dates with your work wife, plan more weekend brunches with your best friend, sign up for a new yoga studio with your sister, and fit in weekly date nights with your significant other. After all, maybe achieving “happiness” isn’t about what we don’t have yet but what we already have that we need more of. Trust me, it will be the one resolution that will stick.

    5. Make a vision board
    Resolutions are often focused on the “doing,” or the actions you need to take. Instead, focus on the person you want to be and the life you want to have. Create a vision board displaying what you want, whether it’s in your career, your love life (pictures of Tom Holland, anyone?), your home environment, or just how you see your truest self. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or take hours to create. Your vision board can be as simple as a big picture goal list taped to the fridge. Set up the vision board in a location you’ll look at often and add to it as your dreams develop. Focus on the “being,” and the “doing” will happen naturally. If you’re looking for more guidance with your vision boarding, listen to our episode of The Everygirl Podcast featuring manifestation expert Roxie Nafousi. 

    6. Create a list of what you love about yourself and your life
    Screw changing—you’re already pretty great as you are. Make a list of everything you love about yourself as if you were writing a love letter: the smile you got from your mom, the strong legs that can run miles, the ability to laugh even when you’re sad, or the hard work ethic that your younger self would be proud of. Also, record what’s going well in your life. Are you close to your siblings, live in a city you love, or have the career you always wanted? Goal setting is important for growth, but what’s the point of making goals if we can’t feel happy once we reach them?

    7. Set different themes for every month
    Instead of resolutions for a whole year, dedicate each month to a theme. For example, January’s focus could be adding more plants to your diet, February’s focus is finding workouts you love, March might be about focusing on your finances to save more money, and the intention for April is spending more time in nature. 30 days of exploration and intention feel a lot more achievable (and more fun!) than 365 days to reach a specific goal. The key is to sett intentions rather than end goals, which means you’ll be proud of yourself no matter what you accomplish while still making major transitions and growth in various areas of your life.

    8. Choose a word or affirmation for the new year
    Do you feel ready to make some major improvements in 2023? Choose a word or affirmation to summarize what you want your focus or vision to be this year. Is it health, balance, happiness, self-love, gratitude, connection, or confidence? Consistently remind yourself of your focus and make decisions based on it whenever possible. For example, if you’re deciding on spending a Friday night in or going out with your friends, which option will bring you closer to your intention of self-love? If you’re deciding on whether to go to a workout class or take a rest day, which choice will bring you closer to gratitude for your body? Find a focus for the year and you’ll subconsciously be making thousands of choices to reach a huge goal. If a sentence is more your style, pick an affirmation. Write it down, hang it on your mirror, and make it the wallpaper on your phone until you start to think of everything in terms of your 2023 affirmation. More

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    7 Ways To Make the Most of the Week Between Christmas and New Year’s

    If you’re staring at your calendar wondering just what on earth you’ll do during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I’m here to help you take full advantage of that precious time off. Whether you want to check some things off your to-do list or kick back and take it easy, I’ve rounded up seven activities that I always try to do during this period away from work. Don’t let your hard-earned free time go to waste! Here are some of the best things you can do to make the most of the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

    Catch up with faraway friends and loved ones.
    Given that many people are off work the week between Christmas and New Year’s, this can be a great time to schedule those long overdue coffee dates, happy hours, and everything else you wish you had time for during the rest of the year. I love using this period as a chance to catch up with long-distance loved ones, too. Text your college crew and get some FaceTime dates on the calendar, or take some time to finally call your grandma as you take a leisurely afternoon stroll. As a bonus: If you’ll be spending this period of time alone, chatting with loved ones will help you feel a bit more connected to those who care about you.

    Tackle an organization project.
    New year, new ultra-organized me, am I right? Maybe not, but I do find that taking on an organizing project during my time off (even if it’s a small one) always makes me feel productive and ready to start the new year on the right foot. My hall closet, for example, always reverts to a danger zone no matter how much I try to stay on top of things, so I like to give it a big clean-out once a quarter. Determine one way that you can streamline your life before January rolls around. Maybe that means finally sorting through your expansive collection of beauty products or taking unwanted clothing to a donation center. Trust me, you’ll feel much better after setting aside an hour or two to get organized ahead of the new year!

    Shop post-holiday sales.
    Are those holiday gift cards burning a hole in your wallet already? I’m with you. I love shopping post-Christmas sales to stock up on items I’ve had my eye on all season long. The day after Christmas, for example, is a great time to head to Target and grab heavily discounted holiday decor to tuck away for next year (for years, my mom, sister, and I would do this all together, which was always a blast). Maybe online shopping is more your speed, which makes things even easier. Change into your comfiest clothes and spend a cozy morning scouring the internet for the best deals of the year. Keep an eye out for sales on items you’ll rely upon throughout the year: makeup and skincare products, bedding, travel gear, and more.

    Get closer to that yearly reading goal.
    Whether you aimed to finish 10 different books or you’re well on your way to 100, there’s no time like the week between Christmas and New Year’s to finish your TBR list with a bang. Once you’re done with that last novel, make a list of your top titles of 2022 and share them with fellow book-loving friends. Then pre-order a few reads that you’re excited about for 2023! I love checking my mail to find a novel that I ordered months back; it’s the perfect mini surprise.

    Whip up a new (healthy) recipe.
    After weeks of holiday treats, you might be craving something a little more nutritious. Why not use your free time to try out a new healthy recipe that you’ll be able to replicate throughout the year? I’m always looking for new workday lunches, and by perfecting a recipe now, I’ll be less likely to run to Sweetgreen every time I’m craving kale. One of my favorite places to source new recipes is Pinterest—I like to save a few meal ideas that look good and then pull them up while at the grocery store to ensure I gather all the necessary ingredients.

    Play tourist in your own city.
    How often do you get to stroll around your city on a weekday? Take advantage of your time off work and book tickets to a theater matinee, check out that new museum, or simply admire all the holiday lights one more time before they come down. Even if traveling is off the table during your break from work, pretend to be a tourist in your own city by indulging in activities that you wouldn’t normally do on a weekday. Living in New York City, for example, I’d love to spend a slow December morning at the Met followed by a delicious weekday brunch and a brisk stroll through Central Park.

    Binge-watch a show.
    Who says that every moment of your time off needs to be productive? It certainly doesn’t—maybe all you want to do after a stressful year at work is simply lay back and veg out. So many amazing shows have come out with new seasons recently (like Dead to Me, The Sex Lives of College Girls, and The White Lotus), and if you haven’t gotten a chance to stream them yet… well, now you know what you’re doing for the rest of the week! If the weather outside is particularly dreary, even better! You officially have plenty to do while cooped up indoors.

    7 Ways To Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Home More

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    Got Post-Holiday Blues? Here are 7 Things to Do Today To Feel Happy and Excited

    The decorations are coming down, Hallmark Christmas movies have come to a screeching halt, work is going back to its regularly scheduled programming, the last of the figgy pudding is gone, and we’re saying good riddance to 2022. Chances are the high of all the holiday cheer has given way to feelings of loneliness and sadness, AKA the post-holiday blues. While the symptoms of post-holiday blues are short-term, there’s no denying they are very real. Rest assured, they’re normal and you’re in good company. We’re coming down from the intense hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, shindigs, indulgences, and travel and facing the letdown of going back to business as usual. That said, there are things you can start doing today to snap out of the post-season funk. Read on for seven tips on how to feel happy when you’ve got the post-holiday blues. Time to get back in the groove.

    1. Move your body intentionally
    Call it a holiday hangover or a case of the post-fa-la-la-la-la blahs—no matter how you look at it, you’re in an emotional slump and you want out. Your workout routine may have been non-existent amidst the holiday madness, so what better time to shake off those “meh” feelings with a solid sweat sesh than today? When you have obé Fitness and its community at your fingertips, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home (who wants to bear the frigid temps?) and you’ve got built-in accountability. Start with one of their Express Classes because 10 minutes is all you need to get those endorphins going. In fact, exercising for just 10 minutes a day can make a difference—and have lasting, measurable effects on your health. What’s more, with 20+ class types and over 10,000 on-demand classes to choose from, there’s a workout for every mood, level, and fitness style. To banish the post-holiday blues once and for all, use code EGYEAR for one-year access to obé fitness for just $99 ($70 off)!

    2. Reset your eating and sleep habits 
    So we’ve established that the holiday rush didn’t leave much room (or energy) for working out, and if we’re being honest, the same went for keeping up our healthy eating and sleep habits. Between the cookies everywhere you turn and the Christmas movie marathons, who can blame us? I don’t have to tell you that those slices of pumpkin pie and glasses of eggnog can mess with your gut health (hello, bloat) and not prioritizing your beauty sleep can throw off your mood and energy. So hit reset on your diet by keeping the water coming to aid in digestion and prevent constipation and focusing on veggies and other whole, unprocessed foods to help keep you stay satiated and regular. While you’re at it, re-establish a consistent sleep schedule and get a solid 7-9 hours of shuteye in every night. Bonus points: Getting quality Zzzs can help you eat healthier (how’s that for a two-fer?).

    3. Think ahead and make plans to look forward to 
    After the spark of the holiday season has faded, it’s hard not to think back on the good times and feel a sense of dread (womp womp). Instead of ruminating on the past, try thinking about the future to help you feel better in the now. After all, giving yourself things to look forward to—no matter how small—can reduce stress and boost mood. In fact, simply visualizing and anticipating your future (best) self can lift your spirits. Whether it’s the matcha latte you plan to grab on your way to work, the new pair of boots you’re expecting in the mail, or your long-awaited trip to Iceland, make it a point to relish in the upcoming things and experiences that excite you. The result? You’ll cheer up in no time. And don’t forget to pepper in mood-boosting activities (the more the merrier!) throughout the year to spread the joy. 

    4. Spruce up your home
    We’re still in staying in season, which means spending more time at home. Do yourself and your mood a favor by doing a quick sweep of your abode. As empty as it may feel with the tree gone and all the tinsel stored away, it’s the ideal time to clean and declutter every nook and cranny. Because a tidy, organized space can improve your well-being, and there’s nothing more satisfying than checking off the dirty dishes in the sink, the growing piles of laundry, and the clutter on your desk. So pop in an inspiring podcast and get to it! Then, hygge your home with warm elements (you can never have enough candles), layered textures (give me all the warm throw blankets), and natural touches (a new plant, anyone?). Bottom line: Making your crib comfy cozy translates to optimal health and happiness. 

    5. Reflect and set intentions 
    While this may be a given when the New Year and resolutions are top of mind, setting attainable goals—whether health, personal growth, career, or relationship-related—makes us happier. Jumpstart the year by reflecting on what your highest self looks like, creating clear and realistic objectives to become her, and planning out actionable steps to achieve them. Perhaps you want to level up your meditation practice. What are things in your control that you can do each day or week to improve it? Is it dedicating two minutes first thing in the morning to sit in stillness, listening to one guided meditation every afternoon to break up the day, or exploring a new technique each week until you find the one that suits you best? Having an achievable purpose to set your sights on will help enhance your well-being in the present, while progressing toward it will help bring about ongoing happiness and satisfaction.  

    6. Pile on the self-care
    PSA: Now is the time to especially listen to what your mind and body need. Your “me” time and healthy routines have taken a back seat to the whirlwind of the holidays, and enough is enough. Enter: all the self-care. While there’s no one-size-fits-all self-care practice, you can take your pick—from journaling and going for a walk to diving into that must-read novel and blocking off your entire Sunday for Pilates, a lymphatic massage, and a mani-pedi. It goes without saying that you don’t have to do it all at once (but by all means!)—do what works and feels best for you, and switch it up from time to time according to your ever-changing needs. Whatever you choose, you can expect reduced stress levels, higher self-worth, and overall improved well-being. Who says you can’t give yourself gifts (material or in the form of self-care) year-round? 

    7. Get outside
    There’s a reason it’s called nature therapy. While we’re staying indoors more this time of year, we can reap a host of mental health benefits by being one with nature: increased happiness, decreased anxiety, stress, and depression, and better focus. Try forest bathing (AKA a nature walk) where you connect with nature through your five senses, visit a local botanical garden, participate in a sound bath, play with your dog in a park, or sip your morning coffee on your balcony. The world is your oyster. A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology showed that just five minutes in nature can make you happier. For the times you’re too cozy in bed to move or it’s a tad too cold to bear staying outside for a prolonged period of time, you can bring the outdoors in by adding plants to your home, cueing soothing nature sounds via an app, or using a light therapy box to mimic the effects of being in the open air. 

    How Experts Say To Cope With Seasonal Depression

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of obé Fitness, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    Healthier Holiday Dessert Recipes a Registered Dietitian Swears By

    If you ask me, the holidays aren’t complete without your favorite, nostalgic foods. Even as an adult, I still look forward to decorating sugar cookies this time of year. Between work parties, family celebrations, and holiday festivities with friends, it can seem like dessert options are never-ending. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself or you have to forgo them altogether. 
    While I believe all foods can be enjoyed in moderation as a part of a healthy diet, it’s also important to be mindful of added sugar consumed during the holidays and beyond. Luckily, there are countless festive dessert recipes that incorporate healthy fats, natural sweeteners, and fiber without sacrificing taste. Keep reading for a round-up of healthier holiday desserts you can enjoy this season. 

    Source: Fit Foodie Finds

    Source: Sweet Potato Soul

    Source: Fit Foodie Finds

    Source: Fit Foodie Finds

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: Real Food with Jessica

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: The Clean Eating Couple

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: Real Food with Jessica

    Source: Ambitious Kitchen

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    10 Festive Non-Alcoholic Cocktails to Try This Season More

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    Expert-Backed Hacks to Making Any Holiday Party Gut-Friendly

    There’s no denying it: The holidays are synonymous with food—seemingly endless buffets of sugar-heavy, rich foods—often leaving your gut health waiting in the wings until your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy comes knocking on your door. As someone who loves her sweets and deals with one-too-many gut flare-ups, I’m all for finding a happy medium and enjoying the holiday party circuit and its festive eats without worrying about whether my gut is going to pay the price. Because what’s the holiday season without indulging in figgy pudding and mulled wine surrounded by your favorite fellow partygoers (AKA family and friends)? So I asked experts how to bring our health A game throughout the holiday season sans FOMO, bloat, and digestive discomfort. Read on for their gut-friendly tips. 

    1. Avoid common triggers
    There are foods that make you feel really good, then there are eats that can leave you with a miserable microbiome and feeling like blah. It goes without saying that most holiday spreads go heavy on the latter, causing everything from digestive discomfort to skin breakouts to brain fog and low energy. “Common triggers include dairy, refined sugar, gluten, and certain fibrous vegetables,” explained Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN, a registered and clinical dietitian. Ask the host if there are any dishes that are lactose-free and consider passing on dishes that contain garlic, onions, broccoli, or cauliflower, which often trigger gut problems.
    Better yet, BYOHD (bring your own gut-friendly dish) complete with a lean protein, healthy fats, and veggies, like this ground turkey sweet potato skillet. “Instead of forcing yourself to eat other people’s foods that might be triggering for you or hurt your gut, try making your own dish and bringing it to the party,” Tamayo suggested. “Offering to cook will always appear like a good gesture, and by doing so, you can guarantee that you are going to have something to eat that settles well with your stomach and won’t hurt your gut health.” 

    2. Say “no” to excess alcohol
    What are the holidays without the likes of apple cider cocktails and peppermintinis? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news: “Alcohol is not gut-friendly and can kill off the healthy bacteria in your gut,” Tamayo affirmed. “Instead of drinking alcohol excessively, try focusing on drinking 1-2 drinks at most, do not mix alcohols, and eat well beforehand.” Tamayo also recommended opting for bevvies with recipes that call for probiotics and anti-inflammatory ingredients, like kombucha, yogurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. “All of these ingredients will help boost your gut health while keeping your microflora (gut-friendly bacteria) alive and happy,” Tamayo conveyed. Emily Brown, an integrative nutrition practitioner and epigenetics expert for rhythm, gave bonus points for drinks with fresh citrus and muddled herbs for their built-in antioxidants and detox support.
    Other drinking tips Brown served up? Reach for healthier drinks, like clean wines or booze-free refreshments, and skip the mixed drinks with added sugars, like syrups or sodas, that leave you with nothing more than a hangover. And try ending the night with a cup of turmeric or nettle tea. Consider it preventive hangover care and essential for healthy digestion, adequate enzymes, and daily elimination.

    3. Start with healthy habits first thing in the morning  
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record (we at The Everygirl don’t take staying hydrated lightly), drink more water, ladies! Baby, it’s cold outside, so you may need an extra nudge to keep up with your water intake. Before you grab your morning coffee or PSL, sip on warm lemon water or tea and keep ’em coming throughout the day. “Enjoy a daily cup of tea with mucilages like aloe, slippery elm, or marshmallow root,” Brown suggested. “These fortify the lining of your gut, like a strong wall preventing inflammation, leaky gut, or irritation.” The best part? “When you stay hydrated, you also feel more energized and satisfied during the day, avoiding overeating and drinking sugary beverages,” Tamayo stated.  
    Brown also advised making exercise your first order of business in the AM: “Something as easy as a 30-minute walk will help set you up for better post-meal blood sugar control all the way to dinner, better circadian rhythm and sleep, and continuity of your healthy habits so that it’s not all ‘on or off’ during the holidays.” To ensure you check fitting in movement off your to-do list? Lay out comfy, casual workout clothes the night before. 

    4. Get your probiotics and fiber in 
    The holidays are nothing if not enjoying the butterscotch pudding and creamy whipped potato casserole you wait all year for with the people you love. So if there’s one thing you do to make sure you are feeding your gut what it needs to be happy and healthy, make it taking probiotics. “They’ve been shown to help our system metabolize alcohol along with all the other digestive and mental health benefits,” Brown said. Tamayo encouraged taking a probiotic supplement every morning or having some yogurt, kefir, or a shot of apple cider vinegar. Also, set your gut up for success by loading up on prebiotic nutrients, like bananas, oats, and flaxseeds, that will help provide fuel for said probiotics. 
    Let’s face it: Most of the typical holiday foods are higher in sugar and lower in fiber, which can lead to the all-too-familiar bloating and constipation. “Eat plenty of dietary fiber, which can help keep your gut regular and promote healthy bacterial growth,” Tamayo recommended. The fiber-rich foods to look out for and choose at your Christmas dinner? Sweet potatoes, legumes, berries, and avocado, just to name a few. 

    5. Nourish your body before and at the start of the party
    “Many people will restrict themselves before holiday gatherings thinking that they’re ‘saving up’ for what’s to be consumed,” expressed Erika Fox, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Supergut. The result? You’ll have eyes bigger than your stomach once you greet that holiday feast, AKA you’re more likely to overindulge and ignore fullness cues. “Instead, give your body a good serving of fiber, protein, and healthy fats before a get-together,” Fox continued.  
    “Start any day, or party, with protein and fat,” Brown echoed. “Think of these as life rafts that help your body carry and metabolize simple carbohydrates: gingerbread, sugar cookies, or crackers. Your blood sugar and mood will thank you.” Do yourself and your gut a favor and make some oatmeal with flaxseeds, almond slices, and bananas to start your day off on the right foot, nosh on some nuts before you head out, and help yourself to some hummus and veggies as soon as you settle in at your soirée.  
    6. Enjoy yourself while eating mindfully
    PSA: Having guilt or shame over what you eat is much harder on the body than the actual bubbly and gingerbread cookies you’ve had one too many of. “Your body internalizes your thoughts and emotions, so practice gratitude, grace, compassion, and love to the best of your ability for your body and health, no matter the indulgences,” Brown said.  She also explained that your parasympathetic nervous system signals your body to “rest and digest.” To stimulate it along with your vagus nerve, which delivers information from the gut to the brain and aids in reducing stress, pair your favorite holiday indulgences with a side of mindfulness, deep breaths, and gratitude. Your body will be more relaxed and the pie you finished off will digest more easily (read: no tummy troubles). 
    Bottom line: Instead of passing on every dish that’s calling your name, enjoy every bite on your plate while still tuning into your hunger cues. And don’t sweat the extra calories or sugar—your body has your back and will take care of detoxing on its own.

    10 Habits Women Who Are Always in Shape Adopt During the Holidays More

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    Stressed RN? You Need To Hear This Psychologist’s Tips for Managing The Holidays

    Behind the tinsel, fa-la-la-la-las, visions of dancing sugarplums, and feel-good Christmas movies is the harsh truth: The most wonderful time of the year is also the most stressful. Before you write me off as the grinch (my ugly-sweater-wearing dachshund proves otherwise), it’s no secret that holiday stress is real. Need I mention the work rush before the holiday break, mad dashes to the mall and airport, and eating all the cookies in sight? Add to that your bank account feeling the pain from extra Starbucks runs, gift exchanges, party hopping, and playing hostess with the mostest. 
    In a recent survey of over 1,000 people across the U.S., more than one-third of respondents said their biggest concern about the holidays this year is finances, followed by worry or anxiety, maintaining healthy habits, general busyness/feeling overextended, and feelings of sadness/grief/loss. The silver lining? I asked Dr. Beth Pausic, Director of Behavioral Health at health brand, Hims & Hers, to share her Scrooge-proof tips to combat the top holiday stressors. Take notes for making this season (actually) merry and bright.

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Beth Pausic
    Clinical Psychologist and Director of Behavioral Health at Hims & Hers.
    Dr. Beth Pausic is a clinical psychologist and Director of Behavioral Health at Hims & Hers. Dr. Pausic has worked in senior roles at several behavioral healthcare startups. Her experience prior to working in telebehavioral health includes over 15+ years as a Clinical Administrator and Provider in clinical settings.

    Make a plan for your finances
    Playing Santa isn’t all fun and games. Sure, gift-giving has its perks (seeing your BFF’s  expression when she opens the red light therapy wand you scored for her: priceless), but with the social expectations associated with checking everyone off your nice list, not to mention the inflation we’re battling, it can feel like your wallet can’t catch a break. So how can you avoid a Grinchmas? “The most important thing to do is set a realistic budget for yourself,” Dr. Pausic stated. “Don’t overextend yourself and make your financial problems worse. Be honest about what you can and can’t spend.” And consider alternatives to the usual material gifts, like experiences (think: a fitness or cooking class), plants, DIY goodies (coffee scrub and bath bombs, anyone?), or your time. Talk about gifts that keep on giving!
    Dr. Pausic also suggested being open and honest with others about your limits on exchanging gifts or participating in social events. “Having conversations about finances with friends and family can be anxiety-provoking and feel awkward, but if it’s something you’re worried about during the holidays, it’s worth bringing up,” she affirmed. “It’s not easy to allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest when you are in a challenging financial situation, but you are taking better care of yourself by sharing your concerns.” That’s what I call self-care. 

    Set boundaries in advance
    While worry is a normal everyday emotion we all experience, there’s no denying that the holiday season can add an extra layer of stress (holiday madness is a thing). Because anxiety can present itself in different ways and at varying levels of intensity, continuously having check-ins with yourself, paying attention to your body cues, and increasing awareness of your anxiety triggers can make the difference between a meltdown and a jolly holiday. “If possible, minimize or avoid triggers,” Dr. Pausic advised. “If that isn’t possible, have a plan to address your anxiety by minimizing your exposure to these triggers by removing yourself from the situation, setting limits, and having strategies to help reduce your anxiety in tougher moments.”
    Dr. Pausic recommended trying the usual suspects: deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. Schedule time for consistent, preventative self-care to help keep tabs on your anxiety and alleviate the effects of it on a regular basis, just like you would your exercise routine. 

    Maintain (some) healthy habits
    Keeping up with your healthy eating and workout regimen is hard enough on any given day, but throw in frigid temps, packed calendars, and temptations everywhere you turn, and the holidays can make even the healthiest women forego their favorite routines. First off, Dr. Pausic pointed out that we’re inclined to become more sedentary during the winter months, so give yourself a break, but do your best to remain active and–if possible–aim to get some level of physical activity several days a week. Adapt your sweat sessions to the winter months by opting for slower, low-impact sweat sessions, like Pilates or yoga. Your body will thank you. 
    So you’ve got holiday soirée after holiday soirée for the foreseeable future, which means food and drinks galore and not enough quality Zzzs. Keep in mind that it’s not all or nothing—instead of swearing off gingerbread cookies and spiked eggnog, enjoy every bite and sip, and listen to your hunger signs. “While you don’t want to deprive yourself, there can be a fine line between holiday indulgence and holiday excess,” Dr. Pausic expressed. “Be mindful if you are eating or drinking more, and plan when you want to indulge and other days when you are a bit more conservative.” And prioritize those 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night to improve your mood, strengthen your immune system, relieve stress, and maintain a healthy weight. Cold and flu season, who?  

    Take frequent breaks
    From Christmas shopping and white elephant exchanges to holiday travel and family get-togethers—on top of maintaining your “normal” schedule—it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed right now. “If you find yourself feeling stressed about these things instead of enjoying them, it is time to take a break,” Dr. Pausic conveyed. “Don’t agree to every invitation and set realistic expectations for all of your activities during the season. It may seem impossible, but you can say “no”—and don’t forget to take care of yourself.”
    Enter: setting boundaries, letting go of “shoulds,” and embracing JOMO. Politely decline any social gatherings that you’d say “yes” to for the sole purpose of satisfying an obligation. Instead of throwing your usual Friendsmas only because your best pals are expecting you to, ask if someone else can take the reins (pun intended). And just because everyone around you is celebrating by decking the halls and baking cookies, you don’t have to partake. Do what feels good for you—even if that means not celebrating at all. Bottom line: Put yourself first. 

    Hold space for all emotions
    Despite this time of year’s theme of holiday cheer, the holidays have a way of intensifying existing feelings of sadness, loss, and grief. “When we are constantly being exposed to images of happiness, family, and being together, it can make your own grief feel even deeper and loss can feel more apparent,” Dr. Pausic explained. “It is OK to acknowledge that getting through the holidays may be hard for you.” You aren’t the only one feeling this way. 
    Whether you’re facing the loss of a loved one, family stress, a recent breakup, or not going home for the holidays, make space for all your emotions, give yourself grace, and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to feel happy. Dr. Pausic listed ways to help ease feelings of sadness/grief/loss:

    Be around others who are supportive
    Consider volunteering some of your time helping others
    Feel what you are feeling. Grief is normal. Don’t force yourself to feel any differently.
    Acknowledge the grief and loss that you are experiencing. Don’t tell yourself or others that you are fine if you aren’t.
    Plan out self-care and coping strategies that work best for you. While it is important to define these for yourself, some examples may be taking a walk, spending time with a friend, trying a new activity, getting some sun, and exercise.
    Reach out to your support network
    Consider talking to a mental health professional
    Be compassionate towards yourself 

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    10 Festive Non-Alcoholic Cocktails to Try This Season

    With all that celebrating this time of year comes drinks—lots and lots of drinks. And while I’ve never been one to turn down a glass of bubbly (or two), I also know it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Not only does alcohol wreak havoc on your digestive system, but it can affect mood (that dreaded hangxiety) and overall make you feel blah. It’s no wonder more and more people are becoming sober curious. The good news is there are plenty of bevvies of the booze-free variety that are full of holiday spirit. So whether you’re sober, sober curious, or just in the mood for a mocktail this holiday season, check out this list of 10 alcohol-free holiday drinks to toast with. 

    Source: Camille Styles

    Source: Ahead of Thyme

    Source: Unbound Wellness

    Source: Garnish with Lemon


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    I Have Social Anxiety–These Tips Help Me Actually Enjoy Holiday Parties

    Watch any Hallmark Christmas movie and you’ll see a winter wonderland filled with family and friends, baking cookies, holiday shopping, and a lot of celebration. While I’m fully on board with festive movie marathons and indulging in the traditions that come with the holiday season, there is one part of it that peaks my anxiety: holiday parties. 
    Between the office holiday party, annual family get-together, Friendsmas potluck, and white elephant exchange, it can feel like every weekend is committed to a social gathering. As an introvert with social anxiety, it’s hard to keep up with the constant holiday celebrations, but I’ve learned to prepare for such events in a way that I can enjoy the night and check my anxiety at the door. Ahead, the tips I keep in my back pocket to help me get through holiday parties with ease.

    1. Meditate
    Social anxiety doesn’t just occur at social events. It usually arrives well before the party has even begun, which is why it’s important to set yourself up for success ahead of time. My getting-ready routine not only involves a good playlist and make-up tutorial, but also setting aside some time to meditate before heading out. Meditation is already a part of my daily routine, but on a night when I’m attending a big event that I know will trigger my anxiety, I’ll add a 10-20 minute guided meditation sesh (through either the Unplug or Superhuman app) beforehand to help calm my nerves and get me in the right headspace. Just by prioritizing meditation, I can walk out the door feeling ready to socialize with confidence. 

    2. Practice an affirmation
    Affirmations often go hand-in-hand with meditation practices, but I find they’re also particularly helpful on their own to repeat to yourself during situations that may cause anxiety. The benefits come from repeating the word or phrase over and over again, which creates a focal point to align yourself in the present moment. You can create your own affirmations specific to the situations that cause you social anxiety or you can try some more general sayings, like “I am a friendly person,” “I am confident,” “I enjoy meeting new people,” and “I am relaxed in social situations.” Practicing an affirmation before or during a social event can be a great aid in working through any social anxiety that may arise. 

    3. Bring a friend
    Experiencing any mental health struggles can be especially difficult during this season, but the good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Despite the common perception that we have to face our struggles around anxiety on our own, having friends by my side who understand my anxiety has made it much easier for me to navigate social events. If there’s a party I don’t feel comfortable going to alone, I bring a friend. If simply the idea of attending a social event solo causes anxiety, bring someone you trust and who can be your support system throughout the night as your plus one. You just might find yourself so wrapped up in the holiday spirit that you forget why you were even anxious about attending the event in the first place.

    4. Have a plan
    For me, the lead-up to any event is when my anxiety creeps up. My mind often races between thoughts like, “What if I have no one to talk to?” and “What if I get stuck seated next to someone I don’t know?” I obsess over what time to arrive, what to wear, who is attending, and what will happen at the event. It can become so overwhelming that oftentimes it feels easier to just not attend at all. But over the years, I’ve learned not to let my anxiety get in the way of having fun, because yes, holiday parties can be a lot of fun!  You just have to be mentally prepared with a game plan.
    Anxiety takes over when you feel a lack of control, so for starters, I think of every social anxiety-inducing situation that could happen at the party and come up with a plan. One might be standing alone and not feeling comfortable joining a conversation. In that case, make your way to a space you feel comfortable in and that will make it easier for you to socialize, like the bar/food area or even the bathroom (a lot of people love to socialize in restrooms of restaurants, bars, etc.). You can even have some questions in the back of your mind to ask people if you feel stuck, such as “What are your plans for the holidays?” 

    5. Congratulate yourself
    Living with social anxiety can feel like an ongoing battle. Sometimes you don’t know when or how it will arise. So when you do have to face it, whether at a holiday party or a work dinner, it’s important to remember that just leaving the house is a win. Congratulate yourself for putting on that LBD and spending a couple of hours in a social situation that may make you want to run home and crawl into bed. Try making a list of all the little wins you had that evening, and remember them the next time you are attending a social event. We often forget to stop and take note of what we’ve accomplished, which includes surviving social anxiety during the holiday season.

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