The holiday season is a time for celebration and great joy, but they can also trigger great stress for many people. With these simple reminders, we can navigate through the stress of the holidays and find more time for ourselves and for the true joys of the season.
Sleep, Eat, Exercise, Be Merry!
This time of year is prime time for getting sick. Socializing with lots of people and fighting through crowds in the stores are prime sources for cold and flu germs. And navigating through hectic schedules and climbing into bed with a busy mind prevent us from getting as much sleep as we normally would.
Then there are all those office chocolates, family meals and parties … it can seem impossible to keep healthy over the holidays! Be proactive, not reactive.
Get enough sleep.
In order to recover from the stress of the day, both physical and mental, our bodies must rest. Even if you don’t feel tired at bedtime, climb into bed anyway, perhaps with a good book or a guided meditation, and try to rest your body. You will eventually drift to sleep. Sleep is the best way to fight off the effects of stress.
Incorporate vitamin C rich foods into your diet.
Incorporate carrots, spinach and tomatoes in soups or salads, to give your immune system a boost. Also, garlic, ginger and onion are more important than ever during the winter months for keeping healthy. Green tea is another great way to boost immunity and aids in digestion.
Eat before you go out.
Whether “out” is to the grocery store or to that holiday party, eat before you leave. And, don’t skip breakfast, even on days when you know you have a big family meal to get through. These will help to prevent over-eating. Also, drink more water – not only will it aid in digestion but it will give you a feeling of being more satiated. Another tip for keeping our diets on track is to keep celebrations to one or two days, not thirty one! You can read more about guiltless holiday eating here.
Make the time for exercise.
Telling ourselves “I don’t have time!” really is lying to ourselves. We have time for whatever we prioritize as important, and exercise should always be a priority. If you don’t think you can set aside time every day for scheduled exercise, try to move more whenever possible.
- Park as far away from the entrance to the mall as you can.
- Walk the dog for ten minutes longer than usual; take the stairs at work.
- Grab some free weights while you watch TV in the evening or do a floor-routine during commercials.
You can always find time for exercise! Sometimes, finding an exercise buddy not only increases our enjoyment in working out but also keeps us accountable too – ask a friend or family member to join you for an evening walk or a morning run. Getting outside to move will keep you refreshed as well as more fit!
Be careful not to injure yourself during repeated activity.
Wrapping presents while sitting on the floor for long periods, or preparing food for hours at a time place strain your back and knees. Be mindful of your posture at all times, take the time to stretch at the beginning and end of each day, and bring a stool into the kitchen when you have to be on your feet for long periods of time – your body will thank you for it!
Remember to take care of yourself first and the rest will follow.
Want more? Read Part I: Budgeting Time and Money
Coming soon: “How to Survive the Stress of the Holidays Part III: Holiday Anxieties”