The holidays are fun, but man can they be stressful!
On top of your already busy life, the holidays can create chaos with your schedule! There is shopping to do, parties to attend, gifts to wrap, and bills to pay.
Honoring traditions and spending time with family and friends, for some, is a beautiful thing, but for others, it can trigger painful memories of the past leading to anger, sadness, or anxiety. The holidays can also be difficult for those who have lost a loved one and are grieving, or for those who are reminded of loved ones who passed long ago, but who are still dearly missed.
And what about all of the yummy, tempting food! When we’re stressed, it’s easy to turn to food for comfort! It can be difficult to maintain balance and control where over-indulgence can lead to adding a few pounds of weight and a ton of guilt!
Here are three quick ways that you can make your holiday season happier and healthier:
1. Manage your stress by managing your schedule. Plan your holiday’s social calendar in advance. As you plan, know your personal limits with how much holiday fun is too much and how much is just right. Prioritize your activities and those you wish to spend time with, and politely decline other invitations.
2. Monitor your mood and find healthy ways to cope. If the holiday blues get you every year, be mindful of what is causing your sadness, anger, or anxiety, and be active in practicing healthy coping skills. For some, this may look like reaching out to friends and family in order to avoid isolating yourself, while for others, it may mean spending less time or setting boundaries with certain people. The point here is to recognize your when you’re feeling less than your best, and in order to prevent a downward spiral, find healthy ways to cope. You may even want to work with a therapist to learn new ways to cope and to create a plan for the holidays.
3. Take good care of your body! During periods of high stress, it is important to take really good care of your physical body. Make sure you get enough rest. Drink plenty of water. Balance out your nutrition—enjoy holiday sweets (and alcohol if you drink) in moderation—and make sure you get plenty of whole, natural foods. Finally, try to get some type of physical activity every day, even if it is parking your car further away than you usually to do in order to get some extra steps in.
One of the best gifts you can give to yourself this holiday season is to manage your stress, practice healthy coping, and take good care of your body.