As the holidays approach, so does added stress. We all have experienced the heightened feeling of tension and stress that grabs us during the holidays. Along with your normal work and daily tasks, more responsibilities hit like the pressure of knowing what gifts to get who, Christmas parties to attend, family gatherings, Church plays, cantatas, school Christmas programs, and the list goes on and on. On top of all of this you have to deal with your children’s excitement and unlimited energy as the momentum of their anticipation accelerates with the thought of Santa bringing toys, etc. They can even become cranky, restless, and uncooperative when they sense stress in the household.
How do you deter all of the above from happening, or at least minimize it? I’m going to offer some suggestions that I think may be helpful, as I have tried doing these and they do help. You probably have heard these suggestions before, but there is a difference in hearing and actually doing them. I hope you will try some of these.
Make Sleep a Priority!
First and most important is getting enough Sleep. Every person requires different amounts of sleep, to make them feel good the next day. You may get by on more or less than others, but you know how much sleep is required for you to be functional during the day. This is what you need to make sure you get every from now through the holiday season. Getting enough sleep is crucial to staying healthy. Lack of sleep will always cause adverse effects on your ability to stay awake during the day and to function at your optimal ability. I’ve been there and done that and I know how it makes your body feels when it is deprived of sleep. This suggestion applies to the children also.
Even though you are tired and worn out, try to exercise at least 20-30 minutes per day for a minimum of 3 days a week, more if you can. Engage the kids in exercise with you. Going for a walk as a family after the evening meal is fun because you can discuss the day or make plans for the next day. This will refresh everyone and reduce their level of stress from the day. It will also help you to sleep better at night.
Curb your anger (avoid arguing)
Yelling and screaming is not healthy for anyone, the giver or recipient. If you get to the point that you can’t take anymore, walk outside, get by yourself and count to ten, or breathe deeply until your anger subsides. It is reported every season that domestic violence escalates during the holidays. This is simply a result of pressure from not having the money to purchase gifts for your kids, illness in the family, the recent death of a loved one, jealousy, etc… Any one or all of these result in anger leading to tragic circumstances in too many instances. Curb your anger at all costs. It’s not worth it.
Eat the right foods (avoid too much sugar)
Americans indulge in eating way too much (especially sweets) during the holidays. With fudge, cakes, pies, batter, cookies, readily available at every turn, it’s almost impossible to avoid overeating. But it can be done! Before each meal, drink a full glass of water. This really helps you to eat less. Another trick is to eat an apple or banana with a few almonds right before attending a party. When you get there you probably won’t be as apt to binge. Eat off the fruit and vegetable trays instead. Avoiding sugary foods will be healthier for you and you will feel better all day. True, sugar makes you feel better (at the moment), but afterwards your energy level drops and you feel sleepy and lethargic.
Check with your doctor to see if you should take the flu shot
If your doctor advises you to take either the regular or H1N1 flu shot, follow their advice. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Dress for the Weather to prevent getting sick
When the weather turns cold, by all means wear the appropriate clothing. It never ceases to amaze me how many I see with shorts, and flip flops I see after the weather drops below 60 degrees. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I believe you are more likely to get sick if too much skin is exposed when it’s chilly or cold out. This is especially true for children and the elderly. A little common sense goes a long way in staying healthy.
Avoid Alcohol (and driving)
Not just to stay healthy, but just to stay alive, do not combine Alcohol and driving. The two don’t mix.
Enough said about that.
Hope some of these will help someone stay healthy this holiday season.
Personal knowledge and experience