The holiday season is an opportunity to spend quality time with family, friends, and colleagues. It can be a time of joy and fun, but sometimes, the holidays can be very stressful. Juggling parties, shopping, wrapping gifts, and entertaining on top of an already full schedule can be daunting. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, many adults fully expect to have more stress during the holiday season.
Managing your stress helps reduce tension, anxiety and helps you avoid getting sick. Stress can weaken your immune system and leave you susceptible to colds and flu.
We’d like to help you stay healthy this holiday season. Keep stress at bay with these simple tips:
Don’t skip meals
Stick with your regular eating habits and choose healthy options. Skipping meals leads to fatigue, crankiness, and overeating later on. If you are feeling very hungry before the party have a small healthy snack, such as an apple and piece of cheese or some veggies and hummus, before heading out.
Make better choices
We know healthy foods are not always available at parties. Make the best choices from what is available by choosing reasonably healthy foods. Check out the buffet before you start selecting foods – crudité, soups, chili, and shrimp cocktail are all good choices. You’ll feel better and you’ll sleep better, too.
Be picky with splurges
You can have chips, packaged cookies, and cakes any time of year. Choose indulgences that you don’t often get to have, like your mom’s famous pumpkin cheesecake.
Sit down and eat
Stay mindful and pay attention to your food. You will enjoy your meal more and you can pay attention to hunger and satiety cues to prevent overeating. Here are more tips for preventing holiday weight gain.
Alcohol interferes with sleep and lowers inhibitions. As a result, you eat more and are likely to make poor food choices. Stick to one drink and enjoy a mocktail or two after. If you do choose to drink, be sure to have one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage.
Pare down expectations
Rather than trying to do everything, figure out your most important traditions and tasks. Take steps to make those things happen and delegate where you’re able. Remember, it is okay to say no when you’re feeling overburdened.
Take some time for yourself
Keep some time free to relax and do the things you enjoy doing. A 15-minute break can do wonders and will get your mind off of your to-do list.
Get a good night’s rest
Adequate sleep is crucial to your overall well-being. Feelings of stress and anxiety can be amplified when you are feeling exhausted. Try to stick with your regular sleep schedule to reduce stress levels.
Stick to your fitness routine
Exercise is often the last thing on people’s minds during the holidays. Keeping up with fitness can reduce stress and increase your endorphins. Even a 10 minute walk, a quick run, or short strength training circuit can help clear your mind and maintain some fitness.
When we are anxious and stressed, we often have tightness in the shoulders and neck. This can lead to headaches and body aches. Take time to stretch your neck and back to relieve stiffness and maintain flexibility.
Get a massage
Massage therapy has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, reduce pain and improve depression in those who receive regular massage.
If you can’t get rid of that sore and achy feeling, give us a call! Physical therapy can help provide relief from the aches and pains caused by holiday stress. We can also provide exercise recommendations, ergonomic tips, and other advice to promote good health year-round.
For extra reading on how to stay healthy this holiday season, we’ve compiled 10 Natural Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu.