Tips to cope with holiday stress and overeating

Yep, it is that time of the year again! The holidays which supposed to be the most magical and wonderful time of the year. Still, for most of us, especially this year, with the COVID-19 craziness, kids running around the house, and you 24/7 working from home, this can also be the most stressful time of the year.

When it comes to the holidays, your mindset matters, many people wait until the holidays to let themselves go a little bit too much. And please don’t get me wrong, letting go is a good and necessary thing for all of us. But, the problem arrives when we have a black-and-white mindset and let all the healthy and positive habits for January 1st because we promise ourselves a new diet, a new exercise plan, and a new me. Still, for most people, these changes never happen, and you end up feeling frustrated and sad, precisely as when you said you would start a new diet on Monday, so on Tuesday evening, you binged all the sweets and pasta. In both scenarios, balance is missing, leading us to overeat the day after the diet starts or fail in the long term because we restrict food for too long.

Finding a balance between eating healthy and having your favourite homemade Christmas cookies can be a real challenge, especially if you spend too much time indoors with mostly unhealthy foods around you.

This article will find some easy tips to ensure you can stay on track without overeating or restricting the foods you love too much.

So, let’s get started!

Tips to prevent overeating and stress

First, it is crucial to be realistic and understand that these tips will not solve your binge eating or black-and-white mentality overnight. This article intends to help you and support you as much as possible, but for many of you, this may not be enough or even possible to stick to, and that is ok. If this is you, please seek professional support as soon as possible. Still, if you are not ill but suspect that your relationship with food may need some adjustments, I invite you to keep reading.


Plan your meals. This will help you prevent eating unhealthy foods all day and being unprepared when hunger arrives, which most of the time leads to eating the first thing you find. Instead, keep healthy snacks at home and consider even buying them ahead.

Move. Walking after meals and moving during the day will help boost your mood and keep your bowels going. Also, home workouts are a great way to keep you active. 15 to 20 minutes Tabata workouts are a great option.

Have a little snack. Before you go on any holiday event that involves food, have a small healthy snack, like raw veggies with hummus, some blueberries or nuts. This will help you avoid going super hungry and overeating at the event.

Balance your plate. Include vegetables, protein and fats, and not only carbohydrates. Eating protein and fats will help you feel satisfied for longer.

Mindful eating. Well, this is a hard one for all of us, especially when we get excited about all the food in front of us, and it is easier to overeat when we eat too fast. Taking some deep breaths before eating and having space between bites will help you digest better and enjoy the whole eating experience. Sometimes we are so fast that we don’t even want the cookie or the yummy food you deserve to eat, so take your time.

Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep leads to an increase in hunger. This makes overeating more likely, especially since more time awake creates increased opportunities to eat.

Don’t focus only on food. Yes, eating is a big part of the holidays, but not the only one. Play games, go for walks with the whole family, read and enjoy activities that do not involve eating.

Bring your healthy food. Inspire your family with your food; bring your healthy dish and share it with your friends. It is also great to show people around you what you usually eat.

Prepare healthy dishes. The holidays are the perfect time for experimenting and practising healthy holiday cooking. There is a healthier way to make your favourite recipes and delightful desserts.

Emotional hunger vs physical hunger. Emotional eating is using food to make you feel better, and it can be powerful, so it’s easy to mistake it for physical hunger.

Emotional hunger Physical hunger

comes on suddenly comes gradually
Is not satisfied with a full stomachstops when you’re full
Usually, it triggers feelings of guilt, powerlessness, and shameIt doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself
Craves comfort foodsOpen to options

Bottom line:

The holidays can bring more unexpected stress and sadness than any other time. Being far away or too close from our families and friends can be an emotional challenge, which obviously can trigger any coping mechanism, like overeating. Therefore, taking care of yourself is vital to avoid stress, overeating, and other unhealthy habits. That is why it is essential to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, take care of your body and stay active to lessen fatigue, anxiety, and sadness.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself, stay safe, be grateful for what you have, and enjoy the food and company of these close to you.

Happy holidays!