Yes – The holiday season mantra. While the smooth voices of Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and Josh Groben permeate the air like a sweet fragrance enveloping us, we drift away with these familiar melodies to another time and place. As we wind down and take a ‘peace pause’ on life, we put the gym passes on hold to focus on quality time with friends and family. The holiday season is a time for reflection and being in the moment, and the festive spirit centers around giving while we pay homage to those extra few minutes spent savouring that morning cup of coffee (oh, the glory of it!). Christmastime is also a very social holiday and as the engagements start rolling in, we start making plans (what should I bake for this, what will I bring to that?).

As the holidays unfold it’s important to remember that if we over-commit, the season can become a very stressful time which can be taxing on our mind and body. As we race to the finish line clearing projects at work, we simultaneously jam the social calendar chock-full and forget about recharging. It’s important to be mindful of what invitations you accept and make a family plan of how you want to spend your time.

This is also the season of indulgence and food is center stage. With regular eating habits also falling to the wayside (shortbread cookies for breakfast anyone?), dinner parties and the Big One with all the fixings and trimmings, over-indulgence can get the better of us and lethargy can become our new ruler if we are not careful. We tend to sleep in a little longer and stay up little later watching all our favourite classics — A Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf — and our normal ‘routine’ becomes a thing of the past just like the sound of an old record player scratching after it’s reached the end of the album.

The best holidays are truly the ones that are equal parts restorative and equal parts fun. Here are some ideas to schedule health over the holidays so that you can go back to work feeling rejuvenated and not looking like you got attacked by the sugar plum fairy (the kind who sprinkles white refined sugar on everything). Indulge in this: Winter walks after dinner, pool party with the kids after brunch (swim and steam it off!), vegetable platters to every cheese platter, morning meditation, read a book, plan healthy holiday recipes (see some ideas by clicking the link here), and finally, moderation. The more energy you have, the more you can maximize your day and enjoy yourself.

Rest assured, t’is absolutely the season for lounging in your pajamas until noon but if you can find balance with physical activity and healthy meal planning over the holidays, you and your family will be better for it when they are over. Often the magic of Christmas is time so take your mind off the clock and reach for that book that you’ve been meaning to read. Enjoy spending time with the precious people that mean the world to you. Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!