Overbooked for the holidays?

Dr. Rosia Parrish, ND

Work-life balance nonexistent? Driven by fear of missing out? Trying to fit too much in during this wonderful, frenzied season can quickly lead to overload, stress and illness.

Here’s my natural prescription for maintaining a healthy balance during the holidays.

1. Make mindful choices

Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to be at every holiday event, attend the ones that mean the most to you and let go of the rest, no matter how enticing. Also, my husband and I like to plan where to celebrate the holidays in advance, since our families live in different parts of the country. And, after the big holiday celebration is over, we enjoy going to the movies for a little relaxing downtime together.

2. Eat healthy

It really is possible to eat fairly healthy during the holidays. Keep healthy and tasty snacks and treats in your car, desk, backpack, or purse. I always keep protein nearby. Think organic nuts and seeds, Epic protein bars, Paleo protein bars, or vegetables plus a protein like hummus. I also focus on eating a “rainbow plate” that contains between four and seven colors of vegetables and fruit. Start with green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard, bok choy or mustard greens. Add other vegetables like celery, squash, leeks, beets or carrots. And top your plate off with sweet and healthy fruits like blueberries and raspberries. Remember, the more colorful your plate, the higher it is in antioxidants and overall nutritional content. To make sure that you and your family are eating enough fruits and vegetables, be sure that 1/2 of your plate always has green leafy vegetables, and another 1/4 contains meat and fat, while the last 1/4 has legumes and dark berries.

Next, when you get hungry, try to be mindful that you typically crave what you’re allergic to (things like cane sugar, dairy and glutens). The trick is to ignore those cravings and focus on eating protein and fats that have more energy than carbohydrates. That way, you won’t feel left out when everyone else in the office, or elsewhere, is chowing down on the latest batch of cookies, fudge, or holiday candy.

Another helpful tip is to make your lunch instead of eating out every day. While it’s a tempting to think you’ll save time by eating out during the holidays, you’ll save money and keep the pounds off by making a fresh, healthy, warm soup for lunch and bringing it to work. And plan quick and easy, healthy dinners like broiled salmon and kale, greens and bone broth soups, and other warming foods at this time of year. Eating warm, cooked foods is important during the winter, especially if you’re eating in places that are cold and at higher altitudes. Warm foods also promote digestion, particularly in places where it’s cold.

Finally, if you’re eating plenty of greens and protein, don’t be too hard on yourself when you have an extra piece of fudge or an extra glass of wine. You’re human.

3. Get enough sleep

Though it’s often tempting to stay out late during the holidays, lack of sleep and increased alcohol consumption catches up with you. Drinking alcohol has a cyclical effect; it not only interferes with sleep, but it also makes people get run down. Instead, try to moderate the alcohol, leave the party at a decent hour, and get a good night’s sleep. You’ll thank yourself the next day.

4. Exercise

Now is definitely not the time to give up your regular workouts or yoga or Zumba class. It’s important to maintain your exercise routine when you’re under extra stress because exercise decreases a stress hormone called cortisol. Good holiday exercises plans include creating a fun at-home aerobics routine, going to a gym with a friend to stay accountable for your workouts, trying a dance class, jumping rope, or taking a walk in your neighborhood during the holidays.

5. Consult your naturopath

My practice is busy during the holidays, and I often see sick patients during this time of year. We’re here to help, so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re feeling run down, starting to catch a cold, or getting stressed out by your to-do list, talk to your naturopath for specific recommendations for modifying your diet and supplementation program.

6. Meditation and massage

Now might be a good time to take in an extra yoga class or treat yourself to a well-deserved massage.

7. Just breathe

Remember to breathe. Sometimes, when we’re nervous we take shorter breaths without even knowing it. Be mindful of your breathing and take some full, healthy deep breaths.

Whatever your plans are this holidays season, you can maintain a healthy body and a balanced life naturally with a little planning ahead.


Rosia Parrish, ND, graduated from Bastyr University with a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine degree in 2016. Dr. Parrish earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology, with an emphasis in medical anthropology and pharmaceutical politics, from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition, Rosia worked in HIV clinical research for nearly a decade.

Rosia has a passion for integrative medicine, healthy eating, preventing disease and redefining healthcare. Her specialties include mind-body medicine, family medicine, mental health, chronic pain, addiction and PTSD. She loves inspiring and educating others about the art and science of Naturopathic Medicine and believes that treating the causes and symptoms of diseases is just as important as helping patients rediscover joy and meaning in their lives. Dr. Parrish is currently seeing patients at Nature Doc J, LLC, in Boulder, Colo., at www.naturedocj.com. She is trained to provide naturally focused medicine to patients of all ages, backgrounds and medical conditions.

In her free time, Dr. Parrish is in the process of creating a low-income naturopathic clinic in Boulder, so that anyone who needs care can access naturopathic medicine. Rosia also enjoys working on naturopathic legislative efforts and continuing her studies of the mechanisms of chronic disease, treatment of root causes of illnesses and disease prevention.

Learn more about Rosia Parrish, ND, at:
Clinic Website: www.naturedocj.com
Website: www.natureofmedicine.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDAdvocates
Twitter: https://twitter.com/naturomedicine
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/naturomedicine/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosia
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rosia/

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