10 Tips to Beat Stress this Holiday Season
The holidays are here! You might not see snow out your window but you may be feeling snowstorm brewing inside just at the thoughts of all you need to do. You may be thinking “So much to do – where can I find the time, focus or energy needed to accomplish it all? How can I get it all done and still maintain my sanity?”
In an effort to help you manage your stress and sail through your holiday season feeling calm, composed and nurtured I invite you to add the following tips to your arsenal this year:
Tip #1: Don’t go to a social event starving. If you do you are bound to overeat and usually the wrong things at that. Have a healthy and nourishing snack beforehand comprising of a small amount of protein (½ -1 oz) and a healthy carbohydrate like carrots, apples, or a few whole grain crackers. This will help stave off any potential drop in blood sugar which is the thing that causes you to overeat and subsequently feel stuffed miserable and uncomfortable afterwards. Plan for maintaining your blood sugar in advance. For more information about balanced diets go to www.wellnesscodeforlawyers.com
Tip #2: Watch Over-scheduling. It’s not a race. Try and choose only one or two events per week, no more. You will only get exhausted, drained, and may end up doing a lot of stress eating and drinking. In our society we are so trained to say yes to almost everything during the holidays. The nonstop visiting and social events can all be traps distracting you from the important things in your life such as self care and family time. The ongoing frenzy of activity can seriously exacerbate your hormonal equilibrium and drain your nervous system leaving you with very little left in reserve. Even though it may be fun, being over-obligated is a strain. Choose carefully and try to pace yourself.
Tip #3: Take a Break. You don’t have to be Ebenezer Scrooge and work right through the holidays. Ebenezer, prior to his transformation, was not a generous man, either with his money or with his spirit. He was unable to give of himself. You need to be generous and give yourself the gift of time—time to recoup, assess, regenerate, and R-E-L-A-X. Don’t let relaxation be a nice concept and throw up your hands and say, “It’s literally impossible for ME!” Make a choice and dedicate a certain amount of time to yourself every day. You will be better able to handle what comes up during the rest of the day if you do this one small thing for yourself.
Tip #4: Avoid Overspending. During the holidays, you may end up feeling obligated to spend, spend, and spend some more. Half the time you don’t even know what to buy and wonder why you are buying something in the first place. Don't get caught, out of obligation, having to purchase something for someone. Don't let the excercise of gift giving being a random and meaningless one. With a little thought, you can not only save time, but also give something meaningful yet small. There’s no need to be extravagant. Consider giving the gift of health – a hot stone massage, a nutrition consult, or a weekend spa getaway.
Tip #5: Stay home. Yes, that’s right. You do not need to travel every year. Have friends and family visit you this year. This will give you more control over your environment, food, and time. You can have a little more control over what and who comes into your house which can potentially reduce your overall holiday stress.
Make your home environment special by adding small festive touches rather than going overboard. Highlight your home with a few chosen pieces. Candles always make a simple elegant solution adding color, warmth and light to your home. You can do something special with your surroundings all year round not just during the holidays. Think Martha Stewart—every day is festive when she’s around. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to have all those tempting foods around you, either. Stock your tables and counters with fresh fruit of the season – mandarins, pears, grapes, and persimmons.
Tip #6: Limit your Alcohol Intake. If you’re going to a cocktail party – have your meal before you go and sip on a nice refreshing cold drink like sparkling cider, cranberry juice with mineral water or a warming hot something like spicy chai tea. For women, alcohol usually increases the relaxing neurotransmitter serotonin – that’s why you will often feel more relaxed sipping on a glass of wine or your martini. But, if you want your brain to work well while managing the stresses of the holidays and beyond, it is best to only have a few. Taking this healthier strategy you’ll stay clear, sharp and maintain more of your brainy brain cells. Also, drinking sufficient amounts of water will help you stay hydrated and cause you to drink less or not at all.
Tip #7: Take your Supplements Yes, it’s true certain supplements will help you manage your stress much better. Supplements which contain Vitamin C and B and herbs like Rhodiola and Ginseng will give your body and mind the ability to overcome stress. If your body is constantly under siege, especially during the holidays, vital nutrients like Vitamin C and B are rapidly depleted from your body leaving you more vulnerable and less able to cope. Adding a high quality multiple vitamin to your daily regimen is great insurance against stress burn out. Also, during the holidays you’re bound to be eating more sweets. These foods will challenge your immune system so taking a good immune formula is also an essential way to curb excessive stress caused by holiday imbibing. For more information about nutritional supplements go to: www.wellnesscodeforlawyers.com to find out more about The Wellness Code for Healthy Lawyers.
Tip #8: Appreciate what you already have. Yes, in this time of giving and receiving it’s important to appreciate what you already have. Who is in your life? Who makes your life rich and full? This requires you to stop and reflect. It’s also the time of year to evaluate where you’ve been and where you want to go in the year ahead. Taking stock and appreciating what you have already accomplished helps calm you down and increases wellness within. Give yourself permission to slow down a little and enjoy the peace and stillness of the winter season versus getting completely caught up in all the hustle and bustle. When you begin to appreciate more you’ll find that have you have less of need to overindulge.
Tip #9 Sleep – Get enough of your Vitamin S which means Sleep. Sleep is often overlooked but is so important when it’s comes to overall health and management of stress especially during the hectic holiday season. Not only do you have all your regular activities to contend with but now you have all the rest - office parties, children’s holiday plays, relatives visiting, shopping for food and gifts. If sleep sounds like a near 4 lettered word to you – stop right there! You need it to maintain and sustain overall health, productivity and stress management. You can’t be resilient or healthy without it. Aim for 7-8 hours if you possibly can. You can also take brief breaks during your day. Set your clock for 10-20 minutes, close your eyes and let your mind wander for that entire period without judgment. You will open your eyes feeling refreshed, re-charged and ready to go.
Tip #10: Stay Physically Active. The holidays are not just about the food. Plan some fun activities like a bike ride or a walk in the neighborhood. Remember if you plan to exercise try to do it before your big meal rather than after. It’s actually a myth that exercising after a meal helps you burn calories. Your body needs time to digest that heavy and filling meal (or any meal for that matter). If you start exercising right after eating all your body’s energy will go directly to supporting your muscles versus towards the important function of digestion. If you exercise right after eating you most likely feel more sluggish and have more digestive distress (gas and bloating). Wait at least 2-3 hours after eating your meal before exercising – but do exercise.
So plan for an extraordinary heart felt time this year. Keeping balance, relaxation, pacing and simplicity in the forefront will help you maintain your peace of mind. Have a Joy Filled Healthy Holiday Season! © 2012
Monika Klein, B.S., C.N. is an award winning clinical nutritionist and weight loss expert. Monika is the “Compassionate and Practical Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach.” Her company, Coaching For Health, LLC offers life transforming weight loss and wellness programs, classes and products throughout the world. To learn more about Monika’s services and programs, visit www.coachingforhealth.com.
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