The holiday season can take a toll on even the most consistent of us. The parties, the crowds, shopping for picky relatives. The most wonderful time of the year can sometimes feel anything but.
When you start to get overwhelmed, sometimes that means slipping into unhealthy habits, such as sleeping too much/ too little, binge eating, or imbibing in too much alcohol. And your mental and physical health is too important to let the holiday season get the best of you.
Instead, try some of these healthy ways for coping with holiday stress.
- SUNLIGHT. Seasonal Affective Disorder is the real deal and it affects millions of Americans each year. Not everyone who is affected has symptoms around wintertime, but many do. Getting outside on sunny days will help with some of those symptoms. And our Texas weather usually makes it somewhat possible to spend a little time each week outside. Soak in the sun and fresh air when you can so that the long nights don’t seem even longer than they are. (Of course, speak to your doctor if you are suffering from prolonged sadness, depression, or other Seasonal Affective Disorder systems.)
- AROMATHERAPY. Add some citrus smells to your essential oil diffusers, or buy citrusy candles. The happy fresh smells can improve moods.
- TAKE A WALK. Outdoors, preferably. But, even indoors on a treadmill works fine too. Turn on some favorite jams, or stream a new podcast to get your mind off your worries. The calorie burn is a good benefit too!
- SAY NO. Depending on your personality, this may be a hard one (and a super important one!) We tend to overschedule and overcommit during the holiday season and it can take a toll on our health (and sleep schedule). Do the most important things for you and your family. It’s okay to say NO to the rest.
- ROUTINE. What are the things you normally do? Keep doing those to maintain a good, steady routine. Workouts, club meetings, small groups, weekly coffee dates, your health support group… again, the things you need to do and like to do should stay on the list. Holiday plan around those. Your health has to take priority.
- ASK FOR HELP (and abandon the fantasy of perfection). The holidays are supposed to be about joy, and love, and family. Ask for help in planning, preparing, and decorating. And don’t worry if it’s not done “perfectly”. Keep it light and keep it fun. (Note: if this goes against everything in your personality type, it’s okay. Just know that it makes #4: Say No and even more important rule.)