It’s that time of the year again. Yes, we’re talking about the holidays.

The festive season is associated with joy and happiness, but for many people, it can be a highly stressful time, especially for someone trying their best to stay on track with their health goals.

As health coaches, it’s imperative that we guide our clients through the chaos that this time of year brings.

Here we’ll explore 12 health coaching tips you can use to navigate your clients through the holidays with confidence. 

1. Get Enough Sleep

With Christmas parties and late nights, it’s easy to slip into an unhealthy sleeping pattern during the holidays.

One of the most important coaching tips you can give your clients during the festive season is to make sure they prioritize sleep.

Sleep influences many physiological functions including:

  1. Hormonal balance
  2. Immune function
  3. Neurological performance
  4. Growth and repair of muscles

The amount of sleep required for optimal perfomance depends on the individual. However, the average adult is likely to require between seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

Any less can lead to emotional and physiological disorders and can lead to compromised immune function.

2. Avoid Over-Committing

For many people, the festive season can become a stressful time filled with work parties, family gatherings and gift shopping.

Over-committing can leave your clients feeling overwhelmed, drained and unhappy.

Help your clients to prioritize their time and coach them to say no with confidence.

Emphasize the importance of being truly present with their loved ones and to avoid the anxiety associated with rushing from function to function.

3. Plan Ahead

Getting organized and planning ahead can relieve most of the stress that is brought about at this time of year.

Coaching your clients to be proactive and organized can make a huge difference for their health and well-being.

A clever coaching tip is to suggest the use of an online calendar app such as Google Calendar or Apple Calendar. These apps have reminders and alerts, which are useful features for someone with a busy schedule.

Coach your clients to record all aspects of their lives into their calendar or diary, including:

  1. Social functions and events
  2. Shopping
  3. Meal prep
  4. Workouts
  5. Appointments

Keeping a record of their schedule will prevent double booking and your clients may also find themselves with more free time then previously thought.

3. Indulge in Moderation – Guilt Free!

It’s important for your clients to understand that one indulgent meal is not going to ruin their health goals.

A great coaching tip here is to remind your clients of the Primal Blueprint’s 80/20 principle. If they understand that healthy living is best assessed over a period of weeks rather than days, then they will grasp how their health plan will not be terribly skewed by the odd “cheat meal.”

Help your clients to comprehend that if they’re going to indulge, they should indulge guilt free.

If they’re able, you could suggest that they try intermittent fasting the following day.

5. Plan Your Meals

Another helpful tip to give your health coaching clients is to stay on top of their meal prep.

Help your clients to understand that they should dedicate time for shopping as well as the preparation of meals that can be made in bulk and stored away in the freezer.

Being able to simply thaw and reheat a pre-prepared meal may make the difference between eating a nutritious home-cooked meal or sneaking through a drive-through on the way home from work.

6. Take the Financial Stress Out of Gift Giving

Gift giving can become a financial burden for many people.

Here are a three inexpensive gift ideas you can share with your clients:

  1. Simply spending quality time with the people you care about can be the best gift
  2. Get creative and make your own decorations to share with your family and friends
  3. Bake and share some tasty Primal-friendly festive treats

7. Play

The holidays are the perfect opportunity to fit more play into your life.

Many of your clients will be taking time off of work and catching up with family over the holiday period. Rather than sitting around and eating foods they probably would rather avoid, you can suggest that they spend quality time “playing”.

If the weather permits, a casual game of flag football or ultimate Ffrisbee can be all you need to boost your mood and bond with loved ones.

If the weather is lousy, then there’s still plenty of fun activities you can perform indoors.

8. Stay Active

Whilst the holiday season can get hectic, it’s imperative that you emphasize the importance of staying active at this time of year to your clients.

Whether they enjoy walking, CrossFit or yoga, make sure you stress the importance of allocating time for these activities. Remind your clients that they have worked hard to established their healthy habits, so it’s important to try their best to keep them going, even with a busy schedule.

9. Be Mindful of Stress Levels

Chronic stress can lead to health complications if left unchecked.

Coach your clients to be aware of the causes and the signs of chronic stress, so when they feel it coming on, they will know to slow down before burnout kicks in.

Help your clients to understand that it’s important to allow time to recharge, and that it’s okay to say no, or to send on apology for a social event if they feel the need to rest.

If financial pressures are a major cause of your client’s stress, you can suggest some of the financial stress-relieving tips that we’ve outlined in this post, such as reassessing gift giving and getting organized with meal preparation.

10. Dedicate Time for Relaxation

Dedicating time for relaxation is essential to staying healthy.

There are many different ways your clients can choose to relax. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, reading a book, taking a mid-day nap, or doing a workout, make sure your clients take time to relax and energize, especially during the festive season.

11. Be Time Efficient

When your short of time, it’s important to stay time efficient. This means avoiding procrastination and being accountable for the time spent performing activities and tasks.

Coach your clients to be mindful of their screen time.

This includes:

  1. Limiting time on social media
  2. Dedicating specific times for checking your emails
  3. Avoiding sitting in front of the television for hours at a time

12. Have Fun!

Our last little tip you can share with your clients is to remember to enjoy this special time of year and to have fun!

For many people, this is the only time of the year they’ll get to spend with loved ones.

Create lasting memories and remember to laugh and be merry!

In summary, we’ve listed 12 helpful coaching tips to help your clients make the most of their holidays, without feeling overwhelmed or falling away from their health goals.

These tips include:

  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Avoid over-committing
  3. Plan ahead
  4. Indulge in moderation – guilt free!
  5. Plan your meals
  6. Take the financial stress out of gift giving
  7. Play
  8. Stay active
  9. Be mindful of stress levels
  10. Dedicate time for relaxation
  11. Be time efficient
  12. Have fun!

Happy holidays, everyone!

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