By: Madeline Glasser
It’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. With all the traveling, shopping and events going on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Taking time to de-stress and relax is going to be incredibly important as you gear up for another crazy holiday season. Here are some ways to lower your stress levels and enjoy the holidays a little more this year.
1. Find Time for Exercise
When time is crunched, one of the first things to go is the exercise routine. That being said, fitting in just 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week will do wonders for your stress levels. If making time to get to the gym is too difficult, just put on your sneakers and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Exercise helps to lower stress levels and keep the holiday weight gain in check, and releases endorphins to help better your mood. As always, though, be sure to get the OK from your doctor before starting any routine.
2. Make a List
Planning for the holidays can be an overwhelming task, and when we are overwhelmed we get stressed. Help avoid this by making manageable to-do lists for whatever you have coming up. Then, as you cross tasks off, you have a tangible way of noting how much you have accomplished and a visual representation of your waning list of responsibilities.
3. Prioritize Sleep
With all the holiday parties and preparations to tend to, getting enough shut-eye can be difficult. Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to feel rejuvenated and to function at optimal levels. You can’t simply “catch up” on sleep in one night — the effects are cumulative — so be sure you’re giving yourself enough rest every day. Turn off electronics 30 minutes before going to bed and try different relaxation techniques or reading a book to help you unwind and fall asleep easier.
4. Eat Well
Fueling your body properly can help alleviate stress because when you’re eating well, your body functions well, giving you ample energy to conquer your to-do list. While it might be a true test of will, resist decadent and indulgent meals. When you know you have an event coming up, try extra hard in the days and hours leading up to it to make healthy eating decisions and load up on fruits, veggies and lean meats. You can still indulge yourself at the party, but practice moderation and avoid overindulgence.
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, relaxation can go by the wayside. When you don’t take time to relax and unwind, your stress levels increase and build. Make sure you are scheduling in some quality “you” time each week. Good ways to relax include taking a yoga class, soaking in a bubble bath or meditating. Find a way that works for you and incorporate it into your weekly plans.
The holiday season is busy but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By taking control of your stress levels and stepping back when you need to, you too can get the most out of the holidays and start the new year feeling great.
Madeline is the author of Food, Fitness, and Family, a blog where she writes about yummy eats, sweaty workouts, and life as a family of three ... soon to be four! She is an Army wife dedicated to finding balance between kale and cake pops while raising her growing family.