Nourishing Yourself during the Holidays: 3 Tips for the Season

Contributor: Dr. Jen Nardozzi, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist and co-founder of The BE Program

shoes-480217_640This holiday season can be a wonderful and exciting time but it can also bring with it many mixed emotions as we try to manage holiday stress, unrealistic expectations, and activities centered around a plethora of food choices.

Here are some ways to nourish your self mind, body, and spirit as your prepare for your holidays, so you can create a more peaceful and joyful holiday season.

Tis the Season to be Stressed

For many of us, the holidays can be both beautiful and stressful simultaneously. As we negotiate competing demands for our time, our priorities, and even our wallets, stress-levels can increase and can take the joy out of the season.

For some of us, the end of the year may also coincide with completing work projects that are due while at the same time, entertaining out of town holiday guests. Or if you are a student, you are studying for exams while also trying to do your holiday shopping before you go home to see your family.

There may be more parties to attend which can be fun on one hand, yet still require even better time management skills and the impossible task of fitting one more thing into an already packed schedule.

Life can become even more stressful during a time that is supposed to be as the holiday song says: “the most beautiful time of the year!”

Tip #1: Nourish Yourself by Scheduling-in Your Own Self-Care

urban-438393_640Because this is a season that is all about giving, it is also important to remember that we ourselves are included on this list as well. It is easy for any of us to let this go when we are busy and the holidays are a time that this can go by the way side.

Yet, this is the time that we need to give to our selves even more so we can better manage the stress.

Giving to Ourselves

We deserve to give to our selves. One way to make sure that this happens, is to actually schedule time into your calendar for self-care. For each of us, self-care may look different. For some, it may be giving your self a gift of a day of pampering to better manage the holiday stress.

For others, it may be scheduling time to do a yoga class and not allow the “things-to-do list” to take precedence over your own well-being.

Whatever self-care may exactly look like to you, the important thing is to make it a priority. That you give your self the gift of going a little slower with more care towards your self this holiday season.

Taking care of our own needs says: “I matter”. And when we are taking care of ourselves well, everything else in our life works better and everyone in our life benefits.

Unrealistic Holiday Expectations

Our lives during this season are often not like a made-for TV Hallmark holiday movie with the perfect decorations and the happily-ever-after ending (though we may wish it were!).
The media as we know is often an imperfect snapshot of what life is really like for most of us.

Yet, it can trigger our “holiday perfectionism” as all we see on TV, in movies, and in ads, the picture of what a perfect holiday is supposed to look like. For many of us, this idealized portrayal is not what most of our holidays in actuality ever are.

It is easy to feel disappointed or to feel like something is wrong, when we are trying to live up to these fantasies or to others expectations, even of our families desires, of what the holidays should be like.

Tip #2: Nourish Yourself by Setting Your Own, Personal Intention for the Holiday

people-336216_640It is easy to get swept-up in the holiday busyness that we never even stop long enough to ask what we really want.

We just begin the “doing-ness” of it all rather than to get in touch with who we are being in the matter of creating our holidays on our terms.

Self-Care Time

Start by setting your own personal intention for the holidays by taking some self-care time for reflection, meditation, and/or journaling. Think for a moment –what would be your idea of a beautiful holiday? How would you be feeling, who would you be spending time with, what activities would you be doing?

Get in touch with the essence of what you are up to creating for this holiday season daily. Take just a moment each day to get in alignment with this intention in whatever way helps you to reconnect with what is most important to you this holiday season.

Food, Glorious Food at the Holidays!

We are a culture that centers many of its activities and social outings around food. For most us, this goes into over-drive during the holidays. Whether you are a person who struggles with over- or under- eating, the challenge of managing the food and your self, can feel daunting at this time of year.

It is easy to want to avoid some of these social outings because of the “food overwhelm” along with others expectations of how and what we should/or should not be eating. This can be a time of vulnerability to turn-back to old patterns of relating to the food without a solid plan in place regarding your meals.

Tip #3: Nourish Yourself by Creating a Plan for Your Meals

shadows-296004_640This is an opportunity to incorporate the first two tips into your holiday plan of 1) good self-care as it relates to your food plan and choices and 2) to set your own personal intention regarding your meal plan during the holidays.

Sharing Past Experiences and Anxiety

It can be very helpful to share in-depth with your treatment team or someone who you trust, your anxieties, concerns, and even past experiences regarding food and the holidays. The mere act of talking about the fears, can dissipate the food overwhelm to a certain extent.

More importantly, it will help you to not avoid experiences and social outings due to fears around the food, so that you can truly celebrate the season with those you care most about.

Creating a Meal Plan

Next, we can take care of our selves by creating a meal plan that will help provide structure and guidance related to our meals. The plan needs to be flexible enough to account for the unexpected, so that we do not rely on the plan more than our own wisdom in the moment.

The food then becomes a part of the beautiful holiday experience rather than the focal point.

In closing, incorporating these three tips will help us nourish our selves on all levels, mind-body-spirit, to create the magic of the holidays so that we can live our Extraordinary Lives at this time of year.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are some ways that you provide nourishment for yourself during the holidays?

About the Author:
Dr. Jen Nardozzi is a clinical psychologist and co-founder of The BE Program, transformational programs for women who want to find freedom from their food and body struggles. For more information go to

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 5th, 2014
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