It’s the “most wonderful” time of year, otherwise known as the weeks that bring us from our Thanksgiving feast to our December holiday tables, as we seek seasonal settings and Hallmark movie moments. However, it’s also a time that many of us feel stretched, impacted by shifting schedules, and possibly not so merry. It may take a bit of extra focus, but even with the holiday bustle, we can intentionally give ourselves the gift of wellness through healthy ways to manage holiday stress.
If you’re someone who loves long, bright days, this time of year can be dreadful. It can impact your motivation to embrace the holiday spirit. Don’t underestimate the benefit of small steps that make this a bit better, like:
- Let in as much sunlight as possible during the day
- Maintains the hobbies and activities that bring you joy
- Eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients known to improve mood.
If shorter days and impending “winter blues” are particularly impactful for you, you may want to add a sun lamp to your holiday wish list.
The effects of inadequate sleep and resulting fatigue cannot be underestimated. In addition to the exhaustion, it negatively impacts your mental health, hunger, metabolism, and increases your potential for weight gain, which is not what you want during the holiday season (or any time for that matter). Busy nights and early mornings make maintaining a regular sleep schedule difficult, but it’s essential during this busy season. If your list keeps you up at night, I highly recommend evening yoga or a relaxing meditation to help quiet your brain and fall asleep. And, if you get some direct daylight first thing in your day, it will help your body keep a consistent sleep rhythm.
Of course, your dietitian would stress the importance of eating well as part of your gift of self-care and wellness. Food is fuel and many of us need to be energized to take on a full holiday season. Committing to a healthful diet doesn’t have to be challenging or take away from savoring the season. Use Guiding Stars to fill your shopping cart easily and quickly with simple, nutritious foods. Use those ingredients as the building blocks to cooking for self-care.
I know it’s hard when you’re not used to it, but when life gets busy, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to cut corners where it enhances your wellness. In other words, don’t diminish your workout, but put a little less time and effort into that classroom party. Go ahead and pick up extra “steam in bag” veggies, trimmed skinless chicken tenders, and microwave rice pouches if you don’t have time for slicing and prepping. Let Guiding Stars be your partner with recipes that save you time without cutting corners on health. Use our guidance to take advantage of pantry staples that you may already have on hand.
When life gets busy, it’s easy to push aside exercise and movement to prioritize more timely commitments instead. Regardless of how busy you are, there is likely time for a brief workout, stretching session, or yoga. Keep in mind ten minutes is better than none. Give yourself the gift of prioritizing you so that it becomes your expectation rather than exception.