The hectic holidays are here, which means that most people are stressing about food, family, weight gain, sleep, and more. While this time of year is meant to be joyful and celebratory of familial togetherness, it is also a time to care for the self, both mentally and physically. Stress often comes from worrying about pleasing others, but it also results from neglecting personal health.
The ability to successfully make it through the holidays as a healthy individual starts with taking care of the body. We always stress the importance of diet and exercise, and this couldn’t be a truer sentiment during the holidays. Research suggests that eating a well-balanced diet promotes feelings of wellness. One study even found that individuals who ate more fruits and vegetables experienced reduced levels of depression, while individuals who consumed more saturated fats and refined carbs had poorer mental health.
Maintaining mental health allows you to stay present and enjoy the time you spend with loved ones. Neglecting mental health can influence poor eating habits, weight gain, low self-esteem, and other socioeconomic or demographic variables. The link between weight gain and depression is a two-way street. For instance, a 2010 study found that obese people had a 55% increased risk of depression, and people with depression had 58% increased risk of becoming obese. Stay physically and mentally healthy during the holidays by using the following wellness tips.
Take Rest Breaks
It’s completely acceptable to take rest breaks during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Pushing your body to the brink can result in sickness, exhaustion, and even depression. People with adrenal fatigue struggle with this more than anybody, so treat yourself to a moment of rest, meditation, a midday nap, or a massage to prevent yourself from spiraling out of control. Take it slow and enjoy this time of year.
Drink More Tea And Water
Focus on caffeine-free herbal teas and water and less on alcohol, caffeine, and sugary beverages. The sad truth is that coffee, soda, and alcohol consumption increases exponentially during the holidays to boost energy levels and cope with stress. The body cannot function properly when it isn’t sufficiently hydrated, so carry a reusable water bottle around at all times and fill it when it gets empty. Drink herbal teas in the evening to comfort the soul and warm up, and try to opt for green tea if you need caffeine. Remember that increased caffeine consumption leads to poorer sleep, and that being dehydrated can lead to constipation, lethargy, and toxin accumulation.
Find Simple Ways To Get Active
Fitting workouts into hectic holidays schedules is tricky, and it can even stress out avid gym goers. While exercise is important, don’t stress out or lose sleep over not getting a pump in; rather, find easy ways to incorporate movement into your days. Yoga at home, jogging around the neighborhood, Tai Chi in the park, a community Zumba class, or even a family outing to the pop-up ice rink in town can be beneficial movement. Additionally, taking a walk after large holiday meal can benefit digestion!
Go For Veggies First
Whether you are at a family buffet table or ordering at a restaurant, the goal should always be to fill up the majority of your plate with vegetables. Loading starchy options and multiple proteins on the plate first leaves little room for veggies, and we all know that you aren’t going back for a second plate of salad or roasted vegetables. If you are indulging in other foods, eat from a smaller plate to help control your portions.
Prioritize Self-Care And Alone Time
This is one of the most important holiday wellness tips because let’s face it: the family can be A LOT. Extending yourself to please every member of the family, or attempting to play moderator between battling personalities, can take a toll on your mental health. Don’t feel guilty about excusing yourself from the table a little earlier or heading to your room for alone time. Remember that you are probably a better version of yourself when you prioritize alone time.
Sleep, Sleep, And Sleep Some More
Most people neglect sleep as much as they do water during the holiday season. Even though drinking water and getting sleep seem like no-brainers, people skimp on both of these. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night to allow the body enough time to recover from the day you had. If you need help falling asleep, place a few drops of lavender essential oil under your pillow for a soothing, calming effect. If you need more tips on how to fall asleep faster, click here.