Eight Tips for Managing Holiday Stress
While the holidays are supposed to be this happy, joyful, magic-filled time of year, so many of us end up extra-stressed, over-indulged and feeling terrible while struggling to actually enjoy it. I’ve put together some tips to manage tasty treat indulgence, control your stress levels and family expectations, avoid sleep deprivation and keep colds and the flu at bay, just in time for the holidays.
- Plan Indulgence
Delicious treats are definitely part of the holiday experience, but choosing wisely will leave your body feeling better while still getting your indulgences met. Make sure each meal you have contains a good amount of protein and fat to keep your energy levels up and blood sugars stabilized in between meals so you aren’t desperate to snack on sugary treats all day long! The other helpful suggestion is to take all of your dessert and treats at once and have them on a small plate so you can truly see how much you’re eating. Munching on one chocolate at a time can quickly get out of control and you may have eaten the whole box before you know it!
- Manage Expectations
Holidays can be a really tough time for many families. You may have to see people you’d rather not, or old wounds may open that should’ve healed over long ago. Healthy coping techniques (see number 3 and 4 below) are really important to make sure you have, and can help no matter what comes up during the holidays. Going in with realistic expectations is really important too. It’ll help keep you sane and from being surprised with what may come. You can never control how others react, but doing your best to stay grounded and stress free in your own body is the most important part and will help you manage stressful encounters.
- Have Stress-relief options
I want you to stop here for a moment, and choose 5 stress relief options that are helpful for you and write them down. Whether it’s 10 deep breaths (check out the app Breathe2Relax), a bubble bath, journaling, guided meditations (check out the apps Insight Timer or Stop Think & Breathe), or others, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have options to check in with yourself, know when too much has gone on and have a way to re-ground and de-stress no matter what comes up over the holidays.
- Actually do the stress relief
This is such a busy time of year that I literally want you to schedule time in each day for at least one of your stress-relief options that you chose above. The reality of our go-go-go society and lifestyles is that sometimes we have to make time for things that should normally be on our daily lists. Pick at least one thing each day, schedule it in and make sure you take some time out for yourself to do what’s going to make you happy and feel connected. Ideally too you may want to practice some stress relief techniques ahead of an event that you know may be jarring or hard to get through so that you go in feeling at peace.
- Plan Ahead and Don’t Over Commit
This can be a really hard one to manage throughout the season and there may be weekends or days where you could be booked back to back the entire time.
Sit down with a calendar and a list, and get everything all sorted out. This will help you figure out (ahead of time!) if you’ve double booked yourself or there’s a present you still need to find. Try your best to manage only what you’re able to so you’re not burning the candle at both ends and draining your adrenals during a time of year that’s supposed to be happy and nourishing.
- Wash Your Hands
It seems like everyone is always sick with a dreaded cold or flu this time of year, and washing your hands is the BIGGEST piece of advice I can give you in terms of avoiding sickness on your end. The second one is to avoid touching your face as much as possible so that if you do get some germs on your hands, they don’t make it into your body as easily. There are also a ton of other immune boosting and immune support options, so make sure you check in with your Naturopathic Doctor to find out what may be perfect for you and your family.
- Maintain Your Sleep Schedule
Sleep is one of the most important factors to support mood, immune health, energy levels and your entire body! Changes to your sleep schedule, including going to bed late or sleeping in can impact how well you sleep as your body struggles to cope with a new routine. Trying your best to stick to your regular routine will really help too once the holidays are over and you’re back to work and school in January.
- Check in with your Naturopathic Doctor
We’re experts when it comes to helping patients not only manage stress and anxiety long term, but we’re also here for you if you need a bit of a band-aid fix for over the holiday season. If you find your stress levels, how busy you are or your anxiety levels off the charts, we have so many options to get you feeling better and feeling like you can get through this time of year successfully with your wits intact. It’s also a great time of year to ensure you’ve used up any extended medical benefits (and keep in mind I can direct bill to many companies!) you may have before they expire at the end of the year. We have so many different options to help support your immune system, make sure you’re coping through stress and anxiety and get you sleeping if need be. Book your appointment today!