Between holiday stress, overindulging on unhealthy foods and slipping out of exercise routines, December and January yield an uptick in the number of heart attacks. With all of the pressure bearing down on us this time of year, it’s no wonder everyone is in a tizzy.
Before your holidays gets too chaotic to think straight, consider these tips to beat holiday stress and make this your brightest season of celebration yet.
Make Time for REAL Fun
Often we get caught up in holiday activities that are supposed to be fun but end up causing a lot of holiday stress, such as attending tons of concerts, parades and parties, or going overboard on decorating your home. Instead, plan quality activities rather than hitting every holiday scene possible, and make sure you have time for what really makes you and your family happy, even if it doesn’t sound exciting to anyone else.
Plan Ahead to Avoid Last Minute Holiday Stress
Just a little planning – making a holiday gift list, creating a menu for your holiday meals, blocking off holiday prep time on your calendar – goes a long way this time of year. Work to accomplish something on your plan every day so slowly you whittle away the chores and everything gets done on time. Waiting until the last minute will inevitably stress you out so just don’t do it.
Squeeze in Exercise
Everyone has great excuses not to exercise in December because we’re all just too busy. But you can squeeze in mini-workouts throughout your day that will make a big difference. Power walk to-and-from your car, take the stairs to your office or apartment, do 10 crunches before you get out of bed every morning, squat while brushing your teeth, do jumping jacks while you wait for your bagel to pop from the toaster. These little bursts of intensity will get your heart-pumping and blood flowing, plus keep your mood elevated to withstand holiday stress.
Eat Smart and Often
One of the biggest dietary mistakes women make is starving themselves so they can over-indulge later. Rather, eat small meals every 2-3 hours so you keep your blood sugar levels stable and trigger happiness brain chemicals like serotonin more often. It’s ok to indulge a little but be sure you’re getting the nutrition you need first: lean protein and dairy, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits.
Put on a Happy Heart
Before entering what you believe will be a stressful situation, fill your heart with happiness and love. Say personal affirmations that will boost your confidence and contentment to help you get through the event. If you’re having trouble coping on the spot, take a few deep breaths before you say anything. Also, continue to remind yourself of the reason for the season to avoid conflict and strife.
Lower Your Expectations
Embrace the perfection of imperfection so you’re not putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and others. Not everything will go just the way you wanted and that’s OK. When you manage your own expectations you’re better able to handle the natural way your holiday season will play out.
Other simple tips to beat holiday stress:
- Put pressure on your hoku spot, which is between your thumb and pointer finger. It relieves tension.
- Get a daily dose of sunlight to boost your Vitamin D.
- Sniff citrus fruits like lemons. It can trigger the release of feel-good hormones.
- Eat spicy foods that release endorphins for feelings of well-being.
- Get a massage for relaxation.
- Enjoy the many health benefits of listening to music.
Sources: WebMD, Health and Huffington Post