Holidays are always spun as “the most wonderful time of the year.” However, they can quickly feel like anything but once the busy schedule sets in. With constant social engagements, countless hours spent shopping, and your normal work routine still needing attention, personal wellness can quickly be pushed to the back burner as the months of November and December unfold.
With that in mind, it’s important to take steps to prepare yourself for the busy times ahead. Here are a few holiday wellness tips and tricks to help you quietly tend to your own wellness as everything is swept up in the holiday spirit.
Make Sure to Exercise
Once the chilly winter weather sets in, it’s easy to opt for a cozy night spent snuggling by the fireplace, and getting a good dose of hygge is a great way to spend the holidays. However, it’s equally important to make sure that you keep moving.
With so much going on, it’s easy to feel like you’re physically exhausted, but there’s a distinct difference between feeling run down and feeling that post-workout burn. One of the simplest ways to stay healthy and warm this winter is to find a workout routine you can stick to.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Focus on setting attainable goals. Rather than trying to visit the gym every day of the week, simply aim for 75-150 minutes of exercise per week. This gives you the flexibility to plan your workouts around your holiday schedule without skipping them entirely. A few suggestions for possible exercise options include:
- Finding a local gym.
- Doing 7-minute workouts.
- Using an indoor track or even a mall to walk.
- Finding a local indoor pool to swim laps.
When the Christmas decor begins to arrive in the local stores, you know that junk food of all shapes and sizes is right around the corner. While there’s no need to cut out all treats during the festivities, it can be helpful to purge your own home of an excess of culinary goodies.
After all, there’s no need to snack on Christmas cookies at midnight when you already ate several of them at a party a few hours before. On the other hand, eating healthy has a host of wellness benefits, from helping to control your weight to reducing your risk of blood clots and improving your overall mood.
Instead of gorging yourself on holiday treats, stock your pantry with fruits, veggies, salad fixings, soups, and other healthy food options that you can eat in between all of the holiday fun. In addition, try to exercise portion control when you’re attending social events with food.
Bolster Your Immune System
Along with making healthy food choices, make sure to keep your immune system up. Winter is already infamous for being a season filled with the passing of germs and the catching of colds. A quick and easy way to take better care of yourself over the holiday season is to simply take extra care to take your vitamins and other supplements every day.
In addition, if you feel a cold coming on, increase your zinc and vitamin C intake. You may want to also consider asking your doctor if you should have some elderberry syrup on hand to keep your immune system flying high.
Get Quality Rest
Another area that can have serious repercussions on your wellness is your quality of sleep. It’s common knowledge that 7 to 9 hours is an adequate amount of sleep for an adult. However, even if you can’t get that much sleep — and that may be likely with all of the holiday bustle — you can still take steps to improve the quality of the sleep that you are getting by:
- Making sure your bedroom is only used for sleeping.
- Using dark curtains to control the lighting.
- Setting up a diffuser with an essential oil like lavender that can help with sleep.
- Avoiding caffeine, food, and exercise too close to bedtime.
- Unplugging from all electronics well before turning out the lights.
- Making sure that you’re using acceptable eyewear if you fall asleep in your contacts
As you go about your daily business this holiday season, it’s also important to tend to your mental health. Along with the stress and anxiety that are typically dealt with in the workplace, the holidays can add extra stresses and strains. In addition, temporary mental ailments like seasonal affective disorder and the holiday blues can weigh heavily on the mind.
If you know that you’re prone to struggle with things like anxiety and depression, it’s smart to take steps to manage the stress before the holidays arrive. This can have far-reaching effects beyond simply helping you generally feel at peace. For instance, the stress-inducing hormone cortisol has been linked to weight gain, which can be a nasty combination during the stress-filled, junk food-prone holidays.
One of the simplest and best ways to manage your mental wellness is by practicing mindfulness. Regularly take the time to slow down and be in the moment. What are you thankful for? What blessings are going on around you? And what are you unnecessarily blowing out of proportion?
It’s also helpful to review the various cognitive distortions that can influence your thinking, such as catastrophizing or emotional reasoning. The more you can identify these, the easier it will be to maintain an overtly positive attitude.
Caring For Yourself This Holiday Season
You know that you’re going to spend the bulk of the holidays caring for other people. It’s just a fact. However, if you take even a few moments each day to simply slow down and think of your own wellness needs, you’re going to be thankful once January rolls around.
Rather than dealing with an unhealthy post-holiday hangover, you’ll be able to enter the new year feeling healthy, encouraged, and ready for the joys and challenges of the year ahead.
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.