Tis the season to destress.
If the modern manifestation of Christmas leads to an increase in anxiety, recognize the triggers for yourself and don’t let them derail your holidays. It’s no wonder people resort to stress-relieving acts, but splurging and gorging on rich food and alcohol are very short-term fixes that actually create an endless stress loop.
Try these 5 tips for a healthier holiday season:
DIET - Our bodies seem to store more fat when we’re stressed. Food and alcohol indulgences can both cross the line from pleasant to bloated and miserable leading to a whopping hangover the next day. You can end up in a worse overall health state than you started which adds up to more stress.
Make a pact with yourself to still do the healthy things you can despite the festivities over the next four weeks - eat the nourishing foods too, drink plenty of water, put a cap on sugar and alcohol, make movement happen and get enough sleep. If you don’t completely give up your healthy habits, you'll feel like you're bringing in the New Year strong.
WORKLOAD – Managing a family and household doesn’t disappear just because it’s Christmas. Whoever bears the brunt of the extra workload to make the festivities happen is at risk for greater stress.
Make a strategy to get everyone involved and be curious about a new way for it to all come together... create a new tradition!
EXPECTATIONS – Through social media we can see how great everyone else is at their Christmas efforts inducing extra stress to keep up. The perfect Christmas doesn't exist, and striving for it only leads to disappointment.
Reset your expectations and aim for the the memories that YOU cherish.
FAMILY MATTERS – Beyond juggling cultural clashes that result in tense atmospheres, especially in these polarised times, can be a cause of stress at family gatherings. Let's face it though, the only person you can control is you and maybe a little attitude adjustment will go a long way to endure irritating people for a short time.
Monitor and modify your own reactions by not engaging in loaded topics or even trying to change the subject by saying something like, "we're having a good time, let's not get into that now."
FINANCES - Spending beyond your means leads to stress. Money worries can dog you well into the New Year.
Make a shopping budget and stick to it. Consider also tapping into the true spirit of holiday giving by helping others. It feels good and puts our own life challenges into perspective.
Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind. I know it's cliched, practicing gratitude (there I said it) or pausing to think about what you truly enjoy and value in all the above areas can help reduce overall anxiety.
The list of things I'm grateful for usually goes something like this: tasty nutritious food, a warm home, good health, sunshine and people who tolerate me. This year I'm especially thankful for all of you! Your support of Qspice inspires me to keep doing me even though progress is subtle. Challenges, afterall, are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.