How to Take Care of Yourself During the Stressful Holiday Season
Your calendar is suddenly filling up quickly, and you find yourself juggling one obligation after another, all the while trying to keep track of your everyday priorities. It must be the holiday season! While there may be plenty of merriment on your agenda, chances are, you might be operating on overload and neglecting to take care of what is actually the most important thing: your health. Taking good care of your emotional and physical well being is a must in general, but is especially crucial during the stress of the holidays. Follow our simple, budget friendly tips for keeping your body and brain in check, and you'll be ready to embrace the season with a smile.
Take Time to Move
Yes, you may be overwhelmed with events and work and family, but making exercise a priority rather than a punishment will go a long way for your overall health. Endorphins are an excellent combatant for stress, anxiety and depression. Even if you only have ten minutes, get outside (weather permitting!) and move. Get your heart rate up, get some fresh blood to your brain, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel. You'll be ready to face any challenge that comes your way, even Black Friday.
If this concept seems like something you should never have to think about, well – think again! Most of us have a tendency to hold our breath when times are tough. However, holding your breath has never been proven to work for alleviating stress. In fact, it will surely make you feel downright worse. Check out a yoga class, or a guided meditation video (youtube offers many of these for free) and take some time to sit with yourself and your own breath. Stick with it, even if it feels awkward at first. Before long, you will find yourself in your everyday life stopping to pause for breath. When you are in the throws of holiday chaos, if you can remember to take a moment to breathe, you'll be way ahead of the game. And it will bring you back to the present moment, and help you to find the gratitude in all that you have.
The holidays can be very emotionally and physically draining, and it is common for signs of depression to appear. Fight your holiday blues by reaching out and helping others who need it. Try shelters, food banks, hospitals, or senior centers. Offering your help to those in need will not only refocus your attention from your own worries, but it will instantly boost your mood because you are focusing on giving. And isn't that what the holidays are all about?
Sleep, Sleep, and More Sleep
This is a big one. If you are constantly burning the candle at both ends, your physical and emotional body will eventually pay the price. Just like exercise needs to be a priority, so does solid, restful sleep. Remove any screens, from Iphones to televisions and everything in between, from your bedroom, as well as any other stimuli. Treat your bedroom as your sanctuary for your sleep and rest, nothing more. When you wake in the morning, make your bed and tidy up any clutter in your bedroom. Then, when you crawl into bed the next night, you will be primed for a perfectly restful sleep.
Another thing to keep in mind: set your own boundaries. Only you can decide whether to attend every party on your list, or to select just a few. Listen to what you need, and pace yourself accordingly. We promise, you won't miss the stress. We'll toast to that!