Here we go again, that time of year which encourages spending time with family, happy moments, delicious treats and sales at your favorite stores. However, these supposedly happy times are notorious for increasing stress from packed stores, financial strains from increase spending, weight gain from overindulging on sweet foods, and both financial strains and stress from traveling to visit families.
In addition, due to all the extras people are trying to include into their already busy life, there is less time for people to focus on selfcare thus neglecting their health, both physically and mentally. Which is a contradiction as during stressful times, it is especially important to incorporate selfcare.
The holidays are about giving, but like the old saying goes “you can’t fill someone else’s cup if your cup is empty”. If you find that you are neglecting yourself, there are small steps you can take to help take care of yourself during the holidays.
First, eat healthy when you can. Besides decreasing the amount of weight gained during the holidays, healthy eating has been linked to helping manage anxiety and depression. So, if you know there is an event coming up with high calorie foods, try to eat healthier earlier in the day. Or if you find that the amount of high sugary lattes increases during this time, try alternating high and low sugar lattes or decrease the size of the drink.
Second, if you are struggling financially during this time, look at giving more personal, heartfelt gifts versus expensive gifts. This is not the time to try to keep up with the Jones! Small thoughtful gifts will mean more than large expensive gifts which they will not use. In addition, review your budget again to see if you can shift some funds around to help cover the increase costs of the holidays; is there something you can reduce during this time which may help?
Third, if your stress level is increasing. Take a look for any activity which you enjoy and you feel relaxed after doing, no matter how big or small it is. Find ways to relax like having a movie night at home with your family, read a book, draw, journal, exercise or take a hot bubble bath by yourself (or with someone else which could be fun!).
Finally, if you find yourself cutting out exercise time due to your schedule, Exercise has a positive impact on one’s mental health. Try to find little ways to increase your activity, an example of is park further out in the parking lot at the shopping or grocery stores. This will also give you a minute or two to work on relaxation techniques like deep breathing before entering a chaotic store.
Now these are only a few tips examples, take a look at your lifestyle and see what you can do for yourself that will help you through the holidays. Enjoy the holidays but don't forget to give to yourself as you give to others!