“Life is hectic, especially during the holiday season.” How many times have you heard that? Holiday candles are beautiful, but not when burned at both ends. Feeling like your holiday candle just might burn out? Try these sanity-saving tips.
Emotional well-being is never more vulnerable than in the midst of a festival or holiday season. Dozens of emotions come into play and not all of them positive. Guilt, anxiety, shame, grief, fear, anger loneliness often plague us the most when we are trying to celebrate. It is imperative that the busier you are this holiday season, the more you follow some basic self-care guidelines.
-Daily brain breaks: Take mini breaks to relax your mind. Doodle, listen to music, chat with a friend, play a game, sit and just be. Do this periodically throughout your day wherever you are.
-Don’t just do something, sit there: Along the same lines, try not to make major decisions during periods of extra stress. When you must make important decisions, take some time to think it through. Some of the worst decisions are made when we feel rushed and don’t think it out.
-Spend less time in the store: My holiday stress level has literally plummeted this year. And I know why; I’m not rushing to the store, spending money I don’t have on things I don’t need.
-Walk: Not only for the exercise, walking is excellent cardio-therapy. Walking helps get that heart-rate and blood pressure to a healthy level.
-Take your medications: When schedules get rearranged by a vacation, travel or a holiday, it easy to forget scheduled doses of prescriptions. This will cause more chaos emotionally and physically.
-Breathe: I tend to hold my breath when I am nervous or anxious. No oxygen to the brain, means no fuel to ward off negative emotions. A few deep cleansing breaths gets me back in focus.
-Enjoy the holiday lights: There is something very therapeutic that happens when we stop for a moment to enjoy the beauty of colored lights against a dark sky.
-Cry: Crying is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body, mind and soul. You’ll get a major endorphin (good hormones) boost after a good cry.
-Visit the cemetery: We all have loved ones that have gone before us; stop at the cemetery and tell them that you miss them, especially during the holiday season.
-Hug a child.
-Hug an old person.
-Stretch: Stress and tension get the body feeling all cramped up. Take a moment or two for a good long full-body stretch.
-Give and get massages: Can’t afford a professional masseuse? Take turns with your child, friend or lover giving and getting a back massage.
-Bake cookies; fill the house with that comforting smell of the holiday. Talk about aroma therapy…
-Toss a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket: Thank the bell ringer for braving the elements.
-Sing Christmas carols: Singing is another great way to release endorphins into your system. So you can’t sing like Josh Groban. Who cares? If someone doesn’t like your singing, tell them to plug into their Ipod and hush up.
-Rest: Take advantage of any and every little break to doze off for a few minutes. Got little ones at home? Gather everyone on the floor on a big comforter and a few toys. Close the door so no one can get hurt. Play soft music. Cuddle together.
-Eat right: Holiday stress and busyness will deplete your strength. Be sure to get those vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber and protein.
-Eat your protein: This fuels your brain.
-Eat your fiber: For many people, stress goes directly to their digestive system. Getting enough fiber helps keep the digestive tract in good working order.
-Watch some funny video clips on YouTube or read some comics (Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side are my personal favorites): Laughter releases still more endorphins and laughter is also good exercise.
-Keep up with your exercise regime: This is another healthy habit that tends to fall by the wayside during the holidays.
-Practice your faith: Whatever your personal faith dictates: votive observances, prayer, attending services, reading, meditation, keeping up with these habits will sustain you in times of stress.
-Moderate your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sugary, processed foods: All of these have a negative impact on your sense of well-being.
-Load up on the vegetables and vitamin C to ward off the cold and flu that attack most when we are busiest.
-Moderate your television viewing: Television programs have a way of presenting a false sense of reality that can unsettle and depress us when we are under extra pressure and stress.
-Read a bedtime story to your kids, even your older ones: Reading together is great for bonding. It’s also relaxing.
These healthy habits will see you through the most stressful and chaotic of holiday seasons. For more health advice, visit me at www.healthhelp4u.blogspot.com