5 Tips to Handle Holiday Stress
The holidays are an exciting time of year for many of us. The days leading up to the festivities are filled with planning gatherings, shopping, cleaning and an endless list of tasks to make sure it all turns out perfectly. While it is the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most stressful. All that planning and partying can take a toll on your health and well being. Here are five tips to help you handle the holiday stress of the season and maintain balanced health.
1. Have a Holiday Plan
The simple act of thinking ahead about your holiday season can have a huge impact on how this time affects your health. How do you want to feel on January 2nd when all the tinsel has settled? Take a few minutes now, at the beginning of this month, to come up with a plan on how to best take care of yourself during December.
Make a list or jot down a few of your favorite self care actions you want to engage in to make the season more manageable. A bubble bath during a particularly stressful weekend with the in-laws? A weekly walk with a friend to ensure you are getting fresh air and some much-needed vitamin D? Plan some health conscious side dishes for that big dinner with the family? Plan ahead for things that truly make you feel like you are taking care of yourself. You will be grateful you gave it some forethought when you feel balanced after the season passes.
2. Be Active and Get Outside
Having a fitness plan for this month can keep you on track for optimized health throughout the stressful days. Write your gym days on your calendar or plan specific activities like hikes and fitness classes ahead of time. If the weather permits, engaging in fitness while surrounded by Mother Nature will do wonders for your mood and melt that stress away. Spending a few minutes outside each day simply walking or doing light yard work will make a big difference in how you manage your holiday stress and your overall well being this month. Get some friends involved to keep each other accountable. Keep your routine, add some fresh air and move your body to be sure you will end the season feeling great.
3. Prioritize Sleep
It is easy to neglect your sleep schedule during this month. With long lists of things that need to be done and parties late into the night, sleep can often get pushed to the side. On days when it is possible, prioritizing sleep can make all the difference in how the holiday stress affects your body. While it may not be possible to get a solid eight hours each and every night, simply being mindful of your sleep during this time can help you get the rest you need.
Think ahead and plan recharging naps on particularly busy days. Even a quick 15 minutes can have an impact on your energy that day. Make your task lists flexible to ensure you don’t encroach on bedtime. Maybe some of the things on that list can wait until tomorrow, and you can get to bed at a reasonable hour more nights this month.
Sleep deprivation can lead to some serious issues that will surely make the holiday season more stressful such as:
- Memory issues
- Risk of accidents
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Weakened immunity
Avoid these nasty side effects of losing sleep by thinking ahead, having a plan for getting the rest you need and putting sleep high on your list of things to do this month. You will be glad you did!
4. Drink More Water
We hear this one all the time right? It seems so simple, yet so many of us are not hydrating enough, particularly when under stress. Getting in that H2O is even more important during times when we are stressed and pushing our mind and body beyond what is comfortable. Being under-hydrated can lead to fatigue, headaches and brain fog. Compound those with the stress of the holidays, and you have a recipe for some long, hard days.
Easy ways to fit in more water include toting a refillable bottle with you throughout your day, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, having a glass of water first thing in the morning upon waking and being sure to have water with each meal. By making just a few changes to your normal habits you can be sure to not suffer from the effects of dehydration during your most busy times.
5. Have a Food Plan
We all know this time of year is notorious for packing on extra pounds. Calorie dense meals, eating out more often and increased alcohol intake can lead to the unfortunate side effects of an indulgent holiday season. Here are a few ways you can make sure you still have a jolly good time this Christmas without the unwanted weight gain or gut discomfort.
- Read the restaurant menu ahead of time and pick your healthy meal to avoid making a quick decision at the table that you later regret.
- Focus on protein and fiber rich choices during gatherings
- Bring a healthy side dish to that family dinner
- Limit your liquid calories
- Make healthy modifications to your favorite holiday recipes
- Snack wisely
- Skip second helpings
Giving your food intake some forethought and creating some holiday food guidelines for yourself can make a big difference in your overall health this month. Take a few minutes to make your plan, and you are sure to thank yourself come the New Year.
Following these healthy holiday tips can help you manage your stress this month and enter the new year feeling great. Be sure to schedule a massage or chiropractic adjustment at Brookview Wellness if you feel your body succumbing to the holiday madness. We would love to help you take care of yourself during this season and into 2022!