This joyous time of year is a blur of family get-togethers, holiday parties, cramming in end-of-year projects at work, and travel.
This is the time of year that is supposed to be magical, filled with love and kindness. But somehow, the 28 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas often leave us stressed, overworked, and eating a diet that’s nothing within our normal pattern.
So as we round out these last few weeks of this hectic season, here are a few tips to keep you sane, reduce stress, and keep you close to your regular routine.
Utilize Your Calendar and Say No
Overloading your calendar is easy. Three quick ‘yes’s’ can leave you with three holiday parties to attend, three gifts to buy, three hostess gifts, and three appetizers to make. When we overload our schedule, our regular day-to-day routines get the boot.
We find ourselves sacrificing the gym to make another store run to get the ingredients for that third Brie and cranberry ball.
During the holiday season, it’s okay to say no. There are some activities that we must hold sacred for our mental and physical wellbeing, whether that’s a morning walk or Sunday family dinners.
Dust out that weekly planner and start writing your commitments down with hour estimates of how long each task or event will take. This will help you get a visual on where your time is going, and how much time you realistically have to add more events.
Stick to Your Healthy Habits
Tis the season for cookie platters and sweets, for lavish, rich meals, and the time of year where you suddenly feel the need to eat appetizers, lunch, dinner, second dinner, and dessert. But you don’t have to jump all in to this eating free-for-all.
- Have a healthy snack before hitting that ugly sweater party. Arriving satiated will help keep you from overeating on rich foods like cheeses and sweets.
- Don’t let yourself skip the gym or those nightly walks with the dog. Allowing yourself to maintain your exercise schedule will keep you from feeling sluggish, even if you make one too many rounds at the cheese table.
- Get a full eight hours of sleep. Whether you are making, wrapping, or buying gifts, or having that Christmas movie marathon – it’s all too easy to forgo a full night of sleep. But without sleep, stress creeps in much faster and sends us on a cycle of poor eating choices.
Take a Breather
Holiday season means spending a lot of time with the whole family. We’ve all got that one cousin who can’t help but stir up trouble by pressing everyone’s political buttons. Allow yourself a solo 10-15 minute breather. Allow yourself a few minutes to clear your mind and release built-up stress.
Don’t Skip Your Acupuncture Appointment
We are quick to cancel appointments this time of year. But seeing your acupuncturist, especially during the holidays, is crucial to maintaining a healthy mental and physical balance.
Don’t see an acupuncturist? You might want to consider it. Getting regular acupuncture will help keep your stress in check, help ward off pesky seasonal colds, and can even help with digestion (which might be needed after the third week in a row of turkey and stuffing leftovers).
Acupuncture can also help you keep your food cravings in check. It takes a lot of self-control to continuously walk past the office breakroom and see mounds of sweets piled up without taking one, or three.
Getting help with your cravings or with stress management isn’t a form of defeat, but a smart utilization of natural, holistic tools to keep you as your best this holiday season.