The holidays are full of so much excitement. Many people are hosting or attending parties, and you have the opportunity to spend time with those who you love. The decorations everywhere you go are beautiful. You can enjoy splurging on delicious food while worrying about getting back into shape after the new year. What is there not to like when it comes to the holidays? It all sounds like fun, right?
Here is the thing. Even though there is a lot of excitement with the holidays, it is a time that many people dread because of how much stress the holidays bring. And the holiday stress can damage the mind, body, and spirit. That is why it is common to hear about those struggling with holiday stress facing disconnection, burnout, and depletion. Not to mention, it is when people feel the effects of financial strain because of gift buying. However, it does not have to be, which is why there are helpful tips on how to keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy during the holidays.
Attend Fewer Holiday Parties If They Stress You
How are you spending your time during this holiday season? Do you have three parties to attend this week? When you receive a holiday party invitation, you may RSVP “yes” out of excitement. But after that, when you think about these parties, do you feel a wave of dread coming towards you? That is when it is time to determine whether you are going to these holiday parties because you want to go genuinely or are doing it out of obligation. You did say you were attending, but remember that things can change. If it is a work or family function, you may not have a choice.
So if that is the case, go to the party but spend less time there and head home early. But if an acquaintance is throwing a party and even if you agreed to attend, you don’t think you can handle any more parties, then you can always tell them that you are unwell and apologize for not going. These parties or gift exchanges don’t nourish your soul if you feel nothing but dread when you think of them. Therefore, spend your time relaxing at home, doing something that nourishes you, like reading a good book or watching a good movie. All you can do is remember for the following holiday season only to agree to attend a few essential holiday functions.
Stay Mindful During The Holiday Season
Mindfulness is one of the best practices you can utilize when it comes to nourishing your mind, body, and spirit because you are being immersed in the present moment. And that is what you will want to do during the holiday season. Pay attention to your feelings without changing or judging them. Just be aware and allow yourself to have these emotions. Are you angry, annoyed, sad, or anxious? Or are you happy, content, or hopeful? Pay attention to how you feel so you can observe your position and your breathing and find out where in your body you are holding the stress. You can do a body scan and find out how to calm yourself.
Maybe all you need is to take a walk or eat something nourishing. Especially if you are having a conflict with someone. That is why mindfulness is important because you will see what you need during the present moment to feel better. It is easy to get caught up in worrying about what could go wrong in the future or dredging up something that upset you from the past and causing you to stress over that during the holidays on top of the other issues causing tension. Therefore, practicing mindfulness is the best way to cope and a great form of self-care.
Embrace The Imperfections
Imagine hosting a holiday meal with family and friends, and then the next thing you know, you have a roast in the oven, and you leave it in a little longer than planned. Therefore, you unintentionally burn some of the roast, and then you understandably become upset. Therefore, in this incident, even though most of the roast is fine, you are extremely upset by burning part of the roast, which affects the ideal dinner you want to serve your friends and family. And you are upset by this situation. Not only has it added extra stress to you, but it has caused you to become irritable and caused you not to enjoy the concept of having your friends and family around for the holidays.
Therefore, the message here is to embrace imperfections that will happen during the holidays, whether you are the one who is hosting a party if you are attending a party, or if you accidentally rip the gift paper you use to wrap a gift, misbehaving children, or a drink spilling. The list can go on what could go wrong, in your eyes, during the holidays are endless. How do you keep your mind, body, and spirit protected during this time? Firstly, you must adjust your expectations and realize that not everything will go as planned. You cannot stop these unsavory incidents from emerging during the holidays.
The best thing you can do to keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy during the holidays is to embrace imperfection and look at it from another perspective. The things that can go wrong as long as no one’s life is at stake during the holidays can become a laughable moment and become a funny memory. If you have crying kids, instead of allowing that to stress you during the holidays, look at it as even though they are not behaving in the way you wished, you are spending precious time with them, something that not everyone can experience. Embrace the imperfections that happen!
Plan Out What You Eat
There is a reason that weight loss and gyms advertise heavily after the holidays, and it is a known fact that many people overindulge and gain a lot of holiday weight from eating foods they usually do not eat much of during other times of the year. However, if you want to enjoy yourself and not deprive yourself of delicious holiday foods such as cookies, chocolates, cakes, stuffing, pasta, casseroles, etc. (as you should not), eat them in moderation and focus on eating healthy meals.
For instance, if you know you are going to a holiday dinner party with many unhealthy foods, plan it out. Eat two healthy meals earlier in the day with a lot of vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and other sources of fiber. That will not only nourish you but keep you satiated enough for hours. Therefore, you will eat fewer highly caloric foods at the dinner party, and that means you will be eating them in moderation. Consequently, you can enjoy yourself, but within reason. Deprivation does not work. It can lead to binging, and deprivation is not good for the mind, body, and spirit.
Stay Consistent With Your Sleep Cycle
One thing that causes a lot of imbalances to people during the holiday season is that they tend to stay up very late, and that can cause them to wake up much later than they usually do, or they end up getting four to five hours of sleep, at best, if they have to be up for their kids. The best thing you can do to help keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy is to ensure your sleep cycle is as consistent as usual. That means going to bed at the same time each night as you do at other times of the year and waking up at the same time. Get at least six hours of good quality sleep and at most nine hours unless your health is poor and you require more sleep. Don’t stay up too late if you go to a holiday party, and there is nothing wrong with leaving earlier than everyone else, so you make your health a priority.
You also don’t want to drink any adult beverages too late and anything that is highly caffeinated past 2 p.m. And if you are juiced up from having so many activities earlier in the day at night, spend time meditating before bed, and keep your room as dark as possible while putting away any gadgets and turning off the TV at least a half-hour before heading to bed.
Ensure You Remain Active
A great way to ward off stress is to keep active. If you have had a stressful day and you forgot to stay mindful in the midst of it, the worst thing you can do is sit back down and watch TV. That will cause you to ruminate, and being sedentary for too long is not good for your mind, body, and spirit. That is why you will want to stay active by taking walks or hitting the gym. Only some people want to join a gym, which is a personal choice.
Gym memberships can be expensive, the gym atmosphere is not always a fit, and driving somewhere further away to work out is something only some people want to do. And if the gym is not your thing, that is fine, but ensure you square time during the day to stay active. If the weather allows you to walk, take a brisk walk outside. Or, you can get physically busy with an activity at home if the weather does not allow it. If you have some gym equipment at home, take advantage of it. Exercise for at least a half-hour a day, and you will see how much you feel better after doing a workout or taking a brisk walk after a busy or stressful time.
The holidays are a stressful time for people, especially for those who have had a challenging year. Even if they have not, it can be stressful because it is the hustle and bustle time of year when so many people are rushing to shop for gifts, have holiday parties and gift exchanges, and it is a time when you engage with many people, which can impact your energy. The only thing you can do to reduce your stress levels is by doing what you can to nurture your mind, body, and spirit during the holidays. That means practicing mindfulness, eating well by sticking to healthy eating and eating fun foods in moderation, staying active, getting your sleep, and embracing imperfections. Enjoy the holidays, and take excellent care of yourself as you do.