Brace yourselves for the holiday craziness.
One of the most festive times of the year is just around the corner. Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years are weeks away. This time of the year means family, friends, parties, eating and lots of stress.
A survey by the American Psychological Association found that more women than men feel stressed at Christmas — and have a harder time relaxing and enjoying the season 1. According to the study, the main culprits are a lack of time, a lack of money and pressure to give gifts. And while we can’t give you tips on all of these things, here are a few to make sure that your health doesn’t suffer during this time. After all, the goal of the holidays is to get through it happy, healthy and wise.
1. Everything in moderation
It’s easy to overindulge this time of year. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to. Being surrounded by cakes, mince pies, wine, turkey and alcohol is a food lovers paradise. Don’t stop yourself from enjoying it. After all, it is the holidays. Instead, eat and drink in moderation. Do you really need a third helping of pie or the second glass of wine? Enjoy holiday food. Just don’t overdo it.
2. Stick to your normal routine as much as possible
If you usually go to the gym on the weekends or take a walk in the mornings, continue to do that. Stress manifests itself when we’re pulled out of our comfort zone and into new routines. Inevitably there will be activities that you’re not able to continue but if so, keep it to a minimum. You’re much less likely to get stressed out if you stick as close to your usual activities as possible.
3. Food & Drink
Some handy tips to follow over the next few weeks:
- Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to keep your blood sugar in control, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat
- Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite
- Keep your energy levels up and curb your hunger by eating small meals and snacks every three to four hours
- Enjoy special holiday foods like shortbread cookies, turkey with stuffing, and mashed potatoes, but keep your portions in check by using smaller plates
- Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along
- Alcohol: Set an alcohol limit for yourself in advance before an event. This will help reduce your alcohol intake
- Avoid fizzy drinks and soda. Where possible, stick to water
4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Try not to put an unreasonable amount of pressure on yourself. It’s great that you’re trying to take care of everyone else but everything doesn’t have to be perfect. No one will notice if the cutlery doesn’t match or that you forget the table centerpiece. The most important part of the holiday is spending time with your family and friends. So if everything is not 100% of what you wanted but it’s close enough, let it go. Take a deep breath. Relax and enjoy yourself.
5. Preparation is key
Most stress stems from having too little time to get everything done. Think about the last minute scramble for gifts, sending out invites and getting your house ready for company. Don’t wait for December to start planning. Where possible start getting things done at a slow, relaxed pace in November. The benefit of this is that you can get small tasks out of the way and skip the stress of rushing around last minute.
6. Keep Moving
You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year and physical activity can get pushed to the side. But being active has more benefits than just the exercise factor. It’s also a stress buster. It lets you clear your head and get some quiet time. Staying physically active is your secret holiday weapon. Get moving with friends and family, by taking a walk after a holiday meal.
It is of utmost importance to support your body during this increased time of stress so that you do not end up depleted and exhausted by January. Remember it’s your holiday too! If you follow these tips, you might just find this year to be more joyful and less stressful.
Have a happy holiday season!