Holidays, Moderation and Stress

Now that Halloween is over and we are into November, the holiday season has officially started.  This means lots of gatherings with friends and family and of course food! Celebrating holidays is very tightly associated with delicious meals and sweet treats. It can be challenging to always navigate this time of year in a healthy way. In addition, to the tasty food temptations, we normally are under additional stress to plan a Pinterest perfect party or give that one of a kind gift to our family members. Being able to balance the stress of the holiday season in a healthy way in terms of our minds and body is very important. Hopefully some of this information will help give you some peace of mind.

Tips for Handling Stress in a Healthy Way –

  • Stick to a budget. We all love to spend money during the holidays from clothes, to gifts, to food and travel expenses. It can be an expensive time of year. Take some time now to plan what you can realistically afford in terms of gifts this year. Think about your travel expenses and make sure that you set aside some money for those additional costs. Having a plan will help ensure that you are successful in sticking with it. There are ways to give gifts to co-workers or family members that are more cost effective, like baking goodies to give out or putting together fun gift baskets with items from thrift shops or the dollar store. The goal is to determine your budget ahead of time and then stick with that goal. This will help decrease that stress about money and stretching yourself too thin financially.
  • Plan ahead. This ties in to the previous point about putting together a budget. Figure out how you want to structure your time during the holiday season. What goals/traditions do you really want to do and then what things are not necessary to accomplish? If you are able to take time off, how are you planning on spending that vacation time? Have a plan in place so you know what to expect and that helps you feel less stressed. Have conversions with family ahead of the holidays to determine what days you will get together and mark that on your calendar. By looking at your schedule ahead of time, you can work hard to not over book yourself and still enjoy the holidays with lower amounts of added stress.
  • Don’t abandon your health. This can be challenging during the holidays to not totally throw healthy habits out the window. Take time to work in some physical activity into your vacation time from work. Go on a walk with your family or play in the back yard with your grandkids. If you have a pet, take the dog for a walk or head to your local park. Even, shopping at the mall could be made into some extra physical activity by walking some extra laps in the mall or parking really far from the mall entrance. Try to break up your sitting intervals, even when you are traveling by stretching, getting up and moving around. In addition to exercise, try to set yourself up for success through what foods you are eating. Before you head to the holiday neighborhood party, grab a healthy snack: a cheese stick and an apple, so that you aren’t famished and don’t over indulge on the holiday cookies.  If you are going on a road trip to see family, pack a healthier lunch with you so that you aren’t tempted to stop at the drive through to grab a bite to eat. Taking a little bit of time to plan through how you can stay active and make healthy choices, will go a long way this holiday season in helping you feel better about yourself.
  • Take a moment for you. More often than not, the holidays have us rushing around to see family and friends and not taking time for ourselves. There are some holiday traditions or fun things that you probably love about this time of year and making sure that you pause, and enjoy that moment is important. If you love to watch Christmas movies while drinking hot chocolate, plan one night where you sit on the couch and watch the whole movie, while sipping on your hot chocolate and you enjoy that little tradition. Finding time to take a moment will help you to feel grounded and enjoy the holiday season amongst all the hustle and bustle. 

This time of year is so special and being able to manage your health and stress levels in a healthy way will help to ensure that you finish 2016 off right and greet 2017 on a positive note. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful as we gear up for the holiday festivities. Remember, stick to your budget, plan ahead, don’t abandon your health and take a moment for yourself over the next month and half. By utilizing some of these recommendations, you will feel better and enjoy this wonderful time of year!