The holiday season is almost upon us. Have you thought ahead about how you're going to handle the tempting treats, dinner parties, extra goodies everywhere you look, pot luck dinners and late nights?

If you haven't, you're not alone. Planning is boring. It's much more glamorous, dramatic and spontaneous to fly by the seat of your pants.

And what can happen when you don't plan your holiday self-care? Overindulgence and other unhealthy choices can have many negative effects, including:

Weight gain
Upset stomach

Fa lah lah lah lah! Doesn't sound like much fun!

Self-care is all about choice! What kind of holiday season would you like to have this year?

Here are ten ways to incorporate planning, to ensure that you maintain your healthy self-care habits this holiday season:

1. Plan your meals and snacks

Sit down once a week and look ahead. Which days are you planning to eat out? Which days do you need to eat on the run? Which days will you have people over for dinner? What would you like to eat more of? What would you like to eat less of? It’s all up to you, just plan it that way! Plus, plan to pack along some healthy snacks to keep your energy up on those long days of extra errands, parties and other holiday events.

2. Plan your groceries

Once your meal and snack planning is done, quickly jot down what you’ll need from the grocery store. Shopping without a list makes it easy to forget what we need and even easier to fill our cart with what we DON’T need (and what might be unhealthy for us). You can also keep a running list all week and add things as soon as you run out.

3. Plan out your day

Have you ever gotten to the end of a whirlwind day and felt like you’d been hanging on for dear life, being led around helplessly? Again, self-care is all about choice. Plan your day. And then consult your plan when someone wants to schedule a meeting or make other demands on your time. Will adding that meeting add too much stress to your day? What can you cut out if you're adding that? Also, think about the places you’ll go to run your errands – which are located near each other, or near other places you’ll be?

4. Plan your 'no's'

When someone asks you to do something, bring something or eat something, remember that you have a choice! In the case of doing something or bringing something, tell them you need to check and get back to them. Think before automatically saying 'yes'.

When it comes to food, if you've decided that you're not going to eat something or that you're going to limit it, also plan out how you'll say no. You don't need to go into any details - 'no, thank you' is enough. You probably already know which situations will be the toughest and which people will be most difficult to say no to. Plan ahead. More tips on how to keep your resolve when others tempt you.

5. Plan your spending

Extra spending can really sneak up on us at this time of year. Take a careful look ahead and try and predict your expenses. Having a plan will make it easier to allot some money to everything that's wanted and needed. Also, make sure to plan for the unexpected and have a 'miscellaneous' category (if you keep track of what you spend there, you can add it to your holiday spending plan *next* year!).

6. Plan your treats

There are probably things you look forward to eating at this time of year. Your favourite recipes, family traditions, and store-bought specialties. If you make choices and remember the key word 'moderation', you'll be able to savour these treats while saying no to the things you didn't really want anyway.

7. Plan to enjoy others

If there are people you're going to be with over the holidays who challenge you or push your buttons, plan how you'll stay calm and focus on what you like or appreciate about them.

8. Plan to be thankful

Take the time, each day, to reflect on what you have to be thankful for. Find ways to measure the year’s gifts and accomplishments.

9. Plan to help others

One way to connect with what we each have to be thankful for is to focus our attention on the less fortunate members of our community - those who are isolated, sick or without shelter or food. There's lots of ways you can help and many of them don't involve money. Volunteer your time to visit someone, or organize a clothing or food drive. Contact agencies in your community for more ideas.

10. Plan to celebrate

Lastly, think about what the holidays mean to you, or what you WANT them to mean. How do you want to celebrate? Plan to make it happen!

Starting a planning routine now will have you well into the habit by the time the holidays get into full swing. Give yourself the first gift this year - self-care. It'll keep you in a giving mood well into the New Year.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, is the author of “The Everyday Self-Care Workbook”. To find out more about the book, or to receive her free monthly newsletter, “Genuine Self-Care”, visit