If Jingle Bells has started playing on a loop in your head at ever-creasing speeds, and you have started to dread any mention of Christmas, you may be beginning to crack under the stress of the holiday rush. As you frantically try to bake a thousand cookies, plan a Christmas party, and buy the perfect gift for your mother-in-law, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate the Christmas season. The hustle and bustle, constant activities, and over-commitment can really take a toll on your cortisol levels and leave you worn out and cranky by the time the 25th rolls around. Instead of turning to food and alcohol to manage your holiday stress, try these easy ways to coast through the season and start the new year off right.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and fun Christmas…no stress needed.
One of the easiest ways to invite stress into your life is to make inflexible plans where everything has to turn out perfectly. Weather happens, sickness happens, and your best laid grand plans for the perfect family Christmas don’t always happen. Take change as it comes and be willing to see the bright side of any circumstance.
Stick to a budget
The one thing that shouldn’t be inflexible during Christmas is your budget. Plan early and decide how much money you will spend on gifts, decorations, food, and charitable giving. Having a set allotment will allow you to keep tabs on your wallet and even allow you to splurge a little on yourself this season. This will also help you avoid impulse buying and let you to put up blinders against enticing holiday sales.
Take a walk
Yes, it’s winter. And yes, if you live anywhere but the southernmost states you are probably used to chilly weather at this point. Instead of burrowing down inside, take advantage of the next sunny day, bundle up, and go for a hike or a walk. The fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mental and physical health, and it is a great way to escape the frenetic energy of the holidays.
Meditate and clear your mind
If you are feeling overwhelmed, take 15 minutes alone in your room and spend time clearing your mind. Meditation has been shown to help alleviate a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. All things that can plague any busy person during the holiday rush.
Office parties, friend get-togethers, family gatherings, and other holiday events won’t necessarily allow you to stick to a strict diet. And guess what? That’s okay. We’re not saying to indulge as much as you want and stuff yourself until your pants don’t fit. However, it is okay to try your friend’s new cookie recipe or have that drink at your office party. Just stay on track overall, and don’t let guilt over a few treats get you down. One day of unhealthy eating is not going to derail an entire year of hard work. Continue eating lots of real foods like healthy veggies, fruits, legumes, and lean proteins, and have a small taste of that pie at dinner. It’s not the end of the world.
You don’t have to be a superhuman over the holidays. If you just don’t have time for everything…say no. Your friends and family will understand. Be sure to take time to look after yourself, get adequate sleep, and prioritize your health above all else. Don’t over commit and be okay with turning things down that you just can’t fit into your busy schedule.
Surround yourself with the people you love
Healthy interpersonal relationships have long been associated with increased happiness and improved mental health. This Christmas season, instead of getting caught up in the rush, remember what you are truly celebrating. Family, friends, and the spirit of giving. Forgive easily, bury old grudges, and surround yourself with the people who bring you the most joy in life. Spend time laughing and celebrating the little moments that make you smile
How do you avoid getting caught up in the holiday rush? Share any tips and tricks in the comments below!
-The UpWellness Team