This piece was originally written for Health Alliance’s Blog and features information about Health Alliance’s products and services. Visit that site for more on my healthy journey and many more health and insurance subjects.

It’s that time of year when food is unavoidable. We’re just a week away from Thanksgiving, and a month away from Christmas. And while I have plenty of resolutions I could line up for the new year, there are a lot of things I’m trying to focus on to stay on a healthy track for the holidays.

It’s starting with healthier recipes. I love to cook, and I love the Thanksgiving classics, so finding ways to lighten those is definitely key. Luckily for me (and for you), finding those recipes on Pinterest is part of my job description. Check out our Holidays board and stay tuned on social media and on this blog all this month and in December for holiday food ideas. They can help make both lighter meals and menu planning easier.

Outside of trying to make healthy holiday choices, stocking my fridge and cabinets with healthy staples has been big for me this fall. Spinach, carrots, apples, juices, frozen peas and corn, and greek yogurt are my big staples. When it’s hard to pick out an unhealthy snack, it’s harder for my always-grazing habits to lead me off-course.

Being social again has also been helping with my feelings towards health. With my last job, I worked really crazy hours, and with this job, playing catch-up in a busy season has really cut down my social life. Recently, one of my neighbors died. He’d lived next door to me my entire life. And while he lived a full life and was rather old, those moments really force you to think about the moments you will remember. I won’t remember specific times that I snacked on an apple probably ever, but I will remember the times I went out and had a good dinner with friends and laughed over a bottle of wine.

I guess what I’m really saying is that I’m coming to terms with balance in my adult life in a way I never had before. I strive to make lots of little healthy decisions, but every once in a while, I throw those out for an evening in the pursuit of my happiness. And I think that’s okay.

Responsibility is a word I kick around in my head a lot these days. It’s something that sounds daunting, yet I find is getting easier with time. The stretching, meditating, and reading missions have all been going well, (although I usually forget to check in,) and I will be starting a planking challenge that you can do along with me on here tomorrow. But the place I’ve found the most success is with the bedtime routine. There is something about reserving a half hour every night to put away some clothes, clean my face, and brush and floss my teeth that really makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself.

(Side note: If you don’t floss, once your gums don’t bleed when you do it, it really is so great. And weirdly satisfying. When you get food out and know it would just rot in there if you didn’t, it suddenly looks super worth it.)

I know not everyone has the luxury of spending this much time on themselves, (I’m looking at you selfless parents,) but even just a few minutes on you can make a difference. And, I’ve noticed that after that and a little puppy cuddling, (and no caffeine in the evenings,) I sleep a lot better than I used to. The routine has been really great for winding down so I’m ready to go to sleep when I turn out the lights.

Join me again tomorrow as we kick off the planking challenge, and start your own bedtime routine for better sleep and less stress! And follow us on our new Instagram, where you can see more of my life and more of my healthy choices.

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