The question I’ve heard most over this past week among members was, “are you ready for the holiday?” And very frequently the answer was something along the lines of, “no, not at all,” or “I’m so stressed,” or “I’ve been so busy.” It’s kind of sad how what is supposed to be a time of joy and enjoying time with friends and family can turn into what seems like endless weeks of pressure, stress and drama.
So, as we go into what is likely one of the busiest weeks of the year, here are some ideas on ways to decompress, de-stress and keep your sanity.
- Don’t over commit. Sure, it’d be great to bring a platter of home made cookies to your in-laws house for Christmas or throw together a sit down meal with all the fixings for your extended family. But, if making that happen is making you feel stretched too thin, it’s OK to get some help. Find a local bakery that makes delicious sweets, a restaurant that offers catering or ask your guests to all bring a dish. After all, what’s on the table isn’t nearly as important as the people around it.
- Start your holiday with some time outside. Being outdoors and breathing fresh air is a natural de-stresser. Exposure to natural sunlight will also raise your serotonin level which will help keep your spirits up. A brisk walk or easy hike is a great way to kick off your holiday.
- Don’t shoot for perfection. The Earth will not stop spinning if you don’t get to clean every inch of your home before company comes over. It’s not a disaster if your roast is late coming out of the oven. Life will go on even if every gift under your tree is not wrapped to perfection. Do what you can and let go of the rest.
- Get in a workout. Studies have shown that working out elevates your serotonin level – and your mood – for 12 hours afterward. So, finding some time for a sweat session will help you feel less anxious, stressed and irritable.
- Get good sleep. There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated and give you a more positive outlook. Avoid late nights, especially right before the big day and aim for at least 8 hours of solid sleep.
- Go easy on yourself. The holidays are prime time for healthy eating to go out the window. With so many seasonal dishes and desserts, it can be hard to stay on the straight and narrow diet path. Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite foods this holiday. Rather than feeling guilty and stressing over how “naughty” you’ve been, make a commitment to get back on track the following day. Enjoy the foods you love and move on. You can’t wreck your health in one day.