As we say Happy Holidays to friends and family during this time of year, it’s important to include ourselves too. It’s easy to get stressed out and depleted as the extra parties and gift buying start. So how does one stay happy during the season?
A little prior planning can go a long way. Here are 7 tips to bring you Happy Holidays.
Right after you awake, close your eyes, take several deep breaths and meditate or just relax. Just 5 minutes can help you prepare for the chaos of the day. Imagine or visualize yourself in a soothing place, favorite vacation spot or accomplishing a big goal. “Quieting down your mind before you begin your day can help it get off to a great start and things will flow for you,” says Debra Berndt, an expert in creative visualization and hypnosis. Also, if you ever feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a quiet break. Even just a short period of 1 to 5 minutes where you concentrate on slow active breathing and letting stress dissipate can provide you with calming effects.
People will inevitably try to get you to eat more or drink more during the holidays. Instead of giving in or being curt with them, try a different tactic. First understand they are probably trying to be hospitable, a good host, or show they love you. Just thank them, think positive about them and help yourself to a much smaller portion. Maybe even bring your own beverage so you already have a drink in hand. Then, instead of being annoyed by pushiness, you’ll be prepared before they even try to unload extras on you. And remember to always use good manners and a smile.
If you are exercising regularly, keep it up! If you haven’t, try slowly to build a routine you can stick to. Even just getting in extra steps or a walk everyday is a great goal. Then, keep it up. You’ve probably heard, bodies in motion stay in motion. During this time of year especially, exercise helps tremendously with combating stress and depression. According to a study from scientists at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Exercise also can give you that much-acclaimed “runner’s high.” Indeed, research shows that rigorous physical activity of any kind pumps up production of endorphins, your body’s feel-good neurotransmitters.
The amount of desserts can be overwhelming this time of year, but don’t give in. Each day, try to make the best decisions for the overall health of your body. If you are going to a party or get together where you know there will be sweets, make a dessert or your own. Maybe one that is made with a sugar substitute or carb-free. Then you can still enjoy something savory, but you’ll know the ingredients. When it comes to meals, consider bringing your own side dish to the party as well. Chose veggies, fruits, healthy fats and lean proteins over other options and your body will feel better. When your body feels good, so does your mind.
If you always cut the sugary sweets or alcohol, you might one day fall off the wagon. If you do, that is ok if it’s in a small portion. So every once in a while, if you have a very small portion of a dessert, candy or alcohol, don’t beat yourself up. Just know what you are putting in your body. Then, pay close attention to how it makes you feel. If you have 3 bites of pie and you feel ok, then you’ll probably be fine. If you have too much to drink and your body reminds you it doesn’t like feeling that way, remember that for the next time.
Prior planning can often keep you from spending too much at holiday time and also greatly lessen stress. Also make a list for yourself. Reflect on what matters most to you during this month or two. What will help you keep your sanity. Also, don’t forget to exercise or do something from your own list in between checking items off your to-do list or gift list. This will help you have a sense of accomplishment while not be overwhelmed with tasks.
Research shows that when we give to others, our endorphin levels often go up. So be generous with your loved ones, colleagues and friends. This doesn’t have to mean you’re spending a lot of money or giving presents all the time. You can be generous with your appreciation, your time, and other creative ways. If you see someone stressed out, ask how you can lighten their load. Or maybe just lending an ear for a few minutes will help someone find a solution to a challenge. There are many ways to show you are thankful for those around you and being generous with your time goes a long way.
Hopefully these 7 tips add to your Happy Holidays.
From our family to yours – May you have a stress-free Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!