How to really make it the most wonderful time of the year
The holiday season can be a hard pill to swallow if you’re stressing about what you’re swallowing, family obligations, and financial forays. It’s easy to get caught up in commercial chaos and forget to enjoy the reason for the season-whatever that reason is for you. High stress levels not only detract from your experience, but can cause imbalances in cortisol levels and deplete vital nutrients. This combination can exacerbate current health concerns and ignite new ones. No matter what stresses you this season, keep your natural holiday sparkle with these tips for a low-stress holiday.
- Prioritize: Whether it’s food, money, or time, go in with a plan knowing what’s important to you this season. Ignore the “shoulds” and listen to yourself to know what will really bring you joy. You don’t have to accept every invitation, try every dessert, or send everyone a Christmas card. In fact, you don’t have to send anyone a Christmas card if it is one of your “shoulds.” Remember that sleep, good nutrition, and exercise are vital to your sanity, especially when things get stressful. You always have a choice to choose YOU.
- Balance: Even if you really, really want to accept every invitation and try every dessert, planning for moderation can really make a difference in making it through the whole season healthfully. We often approach our schedules more with struggle than celebration. To find balance, plan to take “down-time.” Maybe even take a few moments of reflection. Focus on enjoying each moment of whatever you’re doing instead of cramming in copius amounts of activity. I promise it will only enhance your other engagements.
- The same goes for food. Be selective and savor each bite. It is a misconception that you can’t maintain your healthy lifestyle this time of year. Get creative to transform holiday recipes. Keep your nutritional plan at the forefront of your mind, even if that means a reminder alarm on your phone. On the other end, don’t deny yourself your absolute favorite holiday treat. Obviously, less people have this problem. Maybe I should say don’t feel guilty when you consciously choose to eat your favorite treat. You’ve heard it before: The key is moderation.
- Go with the flow: Having a plan based on your priorities will keep your health and sanity on track, but know that something in your plan will be thwarted at some point. Being aware that “life happens” can be enough to let you laugh at a potentially stressful scenario. Stress and the hormonal changes that come with it are based on our reactions to events, not the actual event.
- Embrace your JOY: Joy, fun, love, gratitude. Feeling these emotions is both enjoyable and great for your body. Remember your reason and ENJOY the Season!