How to Make This the Healthiest, Happiest Holiday Yet

It’s that time of year again — your colleagues bring in an eternal flow of assorted treats, you drink eggnog in the break room, and the festive potlucks never seem to end. Food is a major theme during the winter season, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Focusing on celebrating life with loved ones is one of the most important aspects of the holidays. So this year, before your employees fret about stepping on the scale, give them the gift of whole-person wellbeing.

1. Start a Winter Walking Club: Lace up those gym shoes and hit the trails. If it’s cold, bundle up or visit a local gym. Send out weekly email reminders to keep your employees on track to actively participate in the walking group. During lunch or after work is the perfect time to catch up with co-workers while staying fit. When you exercise together as a team, you are more likely to hold yourself accountable. Plus, continuing to exercise throughout the winter months will keep your employees happy and healthy.

2. Have a Healthy Holiday Potluck: Instead of having employees bring in their traditional seasonal dishes for a potluck, have them revamp the recipes to replace unhealthy ingredients with healthy ones instead. Hosting a healthy holiday potluck will not only be cheerful, but will help to encourage everyone at your worksite to stay on track.

 3. Host a Weight Loss Workshop: Host a weight loss challenge that starts in November and ends in January. Have your employees’ track their progress and either maintain their weight or lose those extra pounds. Reward them with a wellness-related prize.

 4. Encourage Your Employees to Say “Om”: November, December and January are some of the busiest months of the entire year. With all the hustle and bustle of the winter months, meditating throughout the holiday season to stay merry and bright might not be a bad idea. Send out daily relaxation tips and reminders, or host a guided meditation during lunch or after work.

5. Drink H20, Not Eggnog: The winter months tend to be dry and cold, making it easier to be dehydrated. Many people drink warm beverages like tea, coffee or hot cocoa during this frozen season, but warm drinks often spur thirst. Start a hydration challenge. Cheer on your employees to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Staying hydrated helps keep your metabolism rolling and helps you feel fuller, longer. This can help curb your appetite and suppress the urge to reach for potentially unhealthy snacks. Drinking enough water promotes a healthy immune system. And a strong immune system is something we could all use during the peak of cold and flu season.

6. Set up Scrooge-Free Snacking: Make resisting temptation easier when it comes to snacking for your employees. Limit the frequency of bringing food into the office. Establish a rule before Thanksgiving that states when employees can bring in foods to share. Making this a once-a-week occurrence reduces the number of times that unhealthy foods are present in the office. In the break room (or lunch room) provide healthy snack choices like granola bars, almonds, fresh fruit or popcorn. Alternatively, you could establish a monthly salad bar and have employees volunteer to each bring in certain salad ingredients.

 7. Have a Blizzard Bake-Off: Cookies know no bounds during the winter months — and chances are you’re going to eat at least a few. So pick a day to have employees bring in their favorite healthy cookie recipe. Then everybody can exchange and enjoy together.

This snowy season is the ideal time to sponsor workplace wellness programs that are focused on fitness. So don’t be a Grinch; encourage your employees to have their healthiest holiday yet!