The holiday season is once again upon us and it is a busy, stressful time of year. There will be many trips to the grocery store to prepare for holiday meals and time spent with family. It is often during times of high stress that we allow ourselves to overeat or skip the gym. Don’t let the stress and chaos of the season distract you from being mindful.

Prevent yourself from falling into the trap of using the holidays as a time to eat until you feel sick and promising that you’ll start a diet in January. On the contrary, the holiday celebrations are perfect opportunities to engage in mindful eating and living. Use these tips to help you stay focused throughout the holidays so you can welcome the New Year feeling refreshed rather than guilty.

1. Fit exercise into your holiday schedule in any way you can.
You know from past years that around the holidays your schedule is crammed with food shopping, meal preparation, and holiday get-togethers. With so much going on, you may typically find it hard to stick to a normal workout schedule. This year, rather than pressuring yourself to follow a strict schedule, you must learn to be flexible with your workouts. Maybe this will mean switching around days or times to work out or making creative modifications to your typical workout. Managing your time to include exercise will help you find time to reflect on yourself and to distress during this hectic time of year.

2. Save a spot for exercise on the day of a holiday or gathering.
Whether you’re preparing a big meal, attending a party, or relaxing at home with your family on the holiday, be sure to include exercise in your schedule. You will not be helping yourself by avoiding working out on the day of a big event. Utilize time before the big meal or party to fit in a workout. Get your family involved and moving with you. Rather than grazing around the kitchen or sitting on the couch watching sports all day and night, encourage a family game like flag football or basketball before the meal is served. If you’re looking for a low key family activity, go for a long walk together after your meal. It will feel rewarding to get everyone moving and spending more quality face time with each other.

3. Pick your favorite foods first.
The holidays only come around once a year which usually means special treat and family recipes. You should not deny yourself special foods that are only made once a year. Instead, choose your foods wisely. You do not need to eat everything that is served. Observe the entire selection of foods and drinks before filling your plate. This will help you prioritize your favorite foods and prevent you from taking more than you need. For example, if your favorite pasta dish is being served at a buffet, you’ll likely want to know it is available before you take the risotto just like you would probably opt for a slice of your grandmother’s apple pie over standard cookies. Control your desires to indulge this season by consciously choosing your favorite foods.

4. Mind your servings.
A key to staying in tune during the holidays is being mindful of your servings. If you feel that you have a tendency to habitually take large servings or pick at food when it is in front of you, try moving yourself further away from where the food is placed. This can apply to buffets or a dining table. Choose to sit far from the food to resist the temptation for seconds or to pick at “just one more bite.” While you want to enjoy yourself during the holidays it is important to be mindful and to avoid excessive eating.

5. Resist leftovers.
Now that you have gotten your fix of your favorite foods you may feel tempted to take the leftovers home and eat pie for breakfast the next few days. Remember that these foods are special because they are only available once a year and should be eaten only at holiday events. Taking home leftovers can be tricky if you’re not committed to a diet-free lifestyle. Binge eating on holiday leftovers may cause a spiral into a negative mindset. Stay positive and mindful of how you manage your leftovers.

Keep these tips in mind throughout the holiday season. Staying active and mindful will help you manage the chaos and stress that comes with the holidays. Maintain a diet-free mindset in order to start the New Year with joy, not with guilt. Take this time to enjoy your friends and family without the worry of overeating.

Author's Bio: 

Bonnie R. Giller is the Founder of She helps chronic dieters break free from the pain of dieting and get the healthy body they love by giving them the 3 things they really need to succeed – a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education. Get a free copy of her e-book 5 Steps to a Body You Love Without Dieting at .