Do you find yourself stressed out, anxious or depressed during the holidays? Well, you’re not alone! For many, the “joyful holidays” lack much joy altogether. It’s easy to be swept up in the stresses of dealing with the in-laws, holiday traveling, or spending way too much on gifts. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of possible stressors that many will face during this time of hustle and bustle. So as you enter this busy season, make sure you know how to take care of yourself during the holidays.
What can I do to keep a healthy mind and body?
Be Active Physically and Mentally
Exercising is a great stress reliever. However with being extra busy during the season, some make the mistake of stopping their regular exercise routine altogether. Don’t stop! If you stop exercising you’re twice as likely to become stressed, anxious and depressed. Studies show that even 10 minutes of exercise can trigger the same hormones in your brain as antidepressant medications. Additionally, if you exercise on a regular basis, your body can actually build up mood regulators that can buffer stress, anxiety, and depression. Now that’s fitness worth having. For further information on the connection between your mind and bodies health and how they coincide, check out one of our previous blogs: “The Link Between Physical and Mental Health”.
Find Ways to Express your Gratitude to Help Combat Depression
Another way to increase serotonin and dopamine in your brain to combat stress and depression is simply by being grateful. Find ways to focus on activities that help you focus on what you’re most grateful for. This attitude of gratitude is a very helpful way to take care of yourself in the midst of the busy holiday season. Besides, it’s a guaranteed inhibitor from you garnering the reputation as “The Grinch” this Christmas.
Manage your Stress Eating by Understanding your Emotions
In a season in which “visions of sugar-plums dance in our head;” it can be easy to deal with stress by eating more. It’s already easy to over indulge in holiday food and drink. After all, it seems every occasion comes mixed with both cocktails and candy-canes. So if you are one who can identify with “stress eating,” realize that your emotions are sometimes seemingly guiding you to have just one more Christmas cocktail, or one more bite of that tasty sweet treat. Identify the difference between eating to curb hunger and stress eating. Once you can identify that correlation of eating and stress, you can likewise gain control over your dependence on food and alcohol as a coping mechanism. This one simple realization may totally change the way you eat going forward for the rest of your life. Bonus, it might spare you that extra five pounds of Santa jiggle this holiday too. 😉
Take Care of your Body by Sleeping and Eating Well
The lack of quality sleep is detrimental to maintaining a healthy mind and body. Poor sleep is associated with weight gain, stress, depression and irritability. Make your rest a priority during throughout this and every season. When you do so, you’re not necessarily guaranteeing you’ll be the life of the holiday party, but you’ll at least feel lively for the party. Additionally, as you make your way from holiday celebration to celebration; make it a priority to stay fueled with nutritious meals and snacks. Don’t mistake empty calories in sweet and salty snacks for good nutrition. I mentioned earlier the need to differentiate between eating for hunger or eating for stress. That certainly doesn’t mean you should not eat at all. It simply means to properly fuel your body with quality nutrition. You cannot go very far when your body is running on empty. Eating well and healthy during the holidays is paramount to keeping a healthy mind and body at the required busy pace.
Want additional resources for self care to keep a healthy mind and body?
Check out this book on Amazon to help you boost your wellbeing: Change your Schedule, Change your life.
Carry these good mental and physical habits from your holiday season into next year. You might just find this new year becoming your best one yet!