Let’s face it, every month there’s a holiday or reason for celebration… so why the big fuss this time of year?For some, it’s a matter of staying cozy and warm indoors when the outside temperatures drop; for others,it just may be about the constant barrage of “parties” every weekend. It can be a challenging time for anyone —teen, adult,AND athlete need to stay on track with the abundance of food and tempting sweets everywhere! Some people find the number on the scale increasing and/or their clothes start to feel a bit snug. Here is my “recipe”for a healthy holiday:

Fueling for Success: Remember that if you are in training or active competition mode… keeping your body fueled properly is key for optimal performance and minimizing injury. Make a concerted effort to eat a variety of foods at each meal: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. 0% Fat Greek yogurt is my daily go-to… from fruit smoothies to dips and even atop baked potatoes.

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of WATER to help keep your body hydrated and move waste products out. Remember, chocolate milk is the ultimate post-sports refueling beverage.

Sleep —the Ultimate Recharge: We all plug our gadgets into recharge —especially when we are sleeping. Did you know that sleep is the best way for our bodies to recharge, repair, replenish, and renew (new cells)?It is true. Sleep is the best time for our muscles to take a break and heal from the demands put upon them during the day. We actually burn the greatest ratio of fat as a fuel, while we sleep! Holidays can be fun because most schools are closed, but there are many ways to approach the extra time: spend more time socializing and catching up on rest. I say, do both without messing up your sleep-wake cycles!

Practice Gratitude: Positive thinking goes a long way… it helps you to be a winner in your sport and helps your team,but it also can improve your immune system and mental health. Consider putting your thoughts onto paper —or online —with those things you are grateful for. Some holidays focus on gift giving as one way of showing gratitude and appreciation, but writing and/or receiving a lovely card, email or text can be just as powerful (if not more so). Share your thoughts and feelings with the people you care about… sharing positivity and gratitude is a gift worth paying forward this holiday season.

Resolve for Improvement: You don’t have to wait until January 1 every year to make a commitment to personal growth and development of new behaviors. Always take a look at where you are now and think about where you are heading to in the future… how will you get there? What is in your playbook to achieve future goals?  Who will help you?How will you help yourself?Remember, we are all unique and special. There is always room for improvement —whether it seems enormous or subtle. Strive for excellence in all that you do.

Be kind. Be safe. Be fabulous. Be resilient. Be empathetic. Be generous. Be brave. Be strong. Be happy.