5 Ways to Stay Physically Healthy During the Holiday Season

health self-care stress

Buckle up, it’s here - the holiday season! For our Canadian friends, Thanksgiving is already in the rearview mirror, and for those of us in the United States, it’s just three weeks away. That’s not to mention the long list of winter holidays between now and January.

So brace yourself - the onslaught of holiday goodies, parties, and festivities is about to ramp up! (Not to mention leftover Halloween candy from last week!)

The holiday season is synonymous with celebration and cheer, but it can also be a time of stress and overindulgence, especially for lawyers and legal professionals accustomed to high-pressure environments, alcohol-focused events, and holiday parties overflowing with rich, tempting foods. Staying physically healthy during this period is crucial, not just for maintaining your overall well-being, but for ensuring you remain at the top of your game as you enter the new year. 

Here are five practical tips tailored for the busy lawyer to maintain physical health during the holiday season.

1. Schedule Your Workouts Like Client Meetings

As a legal professional, your calendar is your roadmap. Just as you wouldn't miss a court appearance, client consultation, or important meeting with a colleague, treat your exercise/movement regime with the same level of commitment. Schedule workouts or regular movement directly into your calendar. Whether it's a brisk walk during lunch or a quick gym session before heading home, make these appointments non-negotiable. 

2. Smart Eating, Not Just Eating Less

During the holidays, it's not just about eating less but eating smart. Lawyers and legal professionals are no strangers to networking and holiday parties where the food options are plentiful and often rich. Prioritize balance over deprivation. You can enjoy the seasonal offerings by planning ahead. If you have a dinner event, make your meals earlier in the day healthier and lighter. Focus on filling up on vegetables and lean proteins, and when it comes to indulgent foods, savor smaller portions.

3. Hydrate for Health and Focus

Staying hydrated is key to maintaining energy levels and focus, both of which are essential for a legal professional. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's easy to forget to drink water, especially when there are more festive beverages around. However, hydration aids in digestion, helps control holiday weight gain, and keeps you from mistaking thirst for hunger. Carry a water bottle with you, or set reminders on your phone or computer to take hydration breaks.

4. Prioritize Sleep to Power Through Year-End Deadlines

Sleep can be the first casualty of holiday preparations and year-end deadlines. However, compromising on sleep can affect your judgment, efficiency, and immune system. Strive for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night by creating a sleep-conducive environment: turn off electronic devices an hour before bed, keep the room cool and dark, and try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule—even on weekends.

5. Manage Stress with Mind-Body Techniques

The link between mental stress and physical health is well-documented. For lawyers and legal professionals, the end of the year is often synonymous with high stakes and tight deadlines. Incorporate mind-body techniques such as deep-breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation into your daily routine. Even a few minutes a day can reduce stress hormone levels, helping you to keep a level head and a healthy body.

Maintaining physical health during the holidays doesn't require drastic lifestyle overhauls. It's about integrating smart, sustainable habits into your existing routine. 

By planning your workouts, choosing your meals wisely, staying hydrated, prioritizing sleep, and managing stress, you'll not only navigate the holiday season with your health intact, but you'll also set the stage for a prosperous and productive new year in the legal world. 

Remember, your health is the most valuable asset in your legal toolkit. Take good care of it in these final weeks of the year. 

It’s a magical time of year - enjoy it while still taking care of yourself physically and emotionally!