Your Holiday Survival Guide
The holidays are here. It seems like the holiday frenzy and busyness starts earlier and earlier every year. While this means people are generally more festive and happier, but it can also lead to you feeling a bit run-down and overwhelmed.
This unfortunately is a normal feeling for so many of us during the holiday season. And this is why we want to give you some suggestions on how to turn things around this holiday season. As you know, when you get stressed and run-down, your immune system takes a beating.
Think of the number of people you know who get holiday colds, flus, headaches and other seasonal illnesses. Compound this with the impacts of chronic stress on your mental and physical health, and the holidays can set you up for a less-than-fun time.
The good news is – we’re here to change all this. Keep reading for our tips on how to survive the holidays. Keep stress levels low, keep up your healthy lifestyle habit, and yes enjoy the holiday meals and treats. It’s all about balance and keeping the joy and fun in the holiday spirit.
Drop Holiday Expectations
For all of us, the holidays come wrapped up with a big side of expectations. From trying to attend every holiday party, finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list, preparing an amazing holiday meal, and spending time with all of your friends and family – the holiday period is packed full of hard-to-meet expectations.
We all get so caught up in pleasing everyone over the holidays that we end up neglecting our own needs. This is what happens with expectations. So, this holiday season, we urge you to let go of these stressful demands. Think about what is most important to you over the holidays.
Is it spending time with your close family members who you don’t see often? Is it cooking a fabulous meal for your friends and family? Is it giving the special people in your life a heartfelt gift? Is it spending time volunteering?
Choose two things that you want to prioritize this holiday season and make these your priorities. Remember, you can’t do everything, be everywhere or please every person. Our hope is that when you focus on two key holiday priorities, you’ll have time for yourself. The key is not to fill up this time with doing things for others – take a nap, enjoy a long hot bath, go for a walk, go out for a meal – really do whatever helps you recharge.
The pressure of perfection during the holidays can be very intense. The perfect gift, the perfect holiday outfit, the perfect dish for the company potluck, the perfect holiday decorations – it’s endless.
When we get caught up in perfectionism, it’s very easy to lose sight of what is truly important during the holidays. Friends, family and health. This year, to help you keep from drowning in the pressures of perfectionism, think about keeping a gratitude list.
Each day write down one thing you’re grateful for. Place this piece of paper somewhere where you’ll see it frequently. Put the piece of paper in your pocket, tape it to your computer monitor, put in on your kitchen table so you see it when eating your meals, tape it to the bathroom mirror so you see it at night when brushing your teeth, etc.
When the day gets crazy or when you feel overwhelmed with yet another holiday obligation, think of that thing you wrote down on your piece of paper. It’s amazing what the power of positive thought and having a feeling of gratitude can do for your health, happiness, stress levels and immune system strength.
Move, Smile, and Breathe
During the holidays, your schedule becomes a bit crazy. This can make it hard to maintain the healthy habits that you’ve worked hard to develop. However, you know what happens to you, your family, and your overall sense of self when you lose track of the habits that make you feel good.
You start to stress, you feel tired, you get sick, and your family feels the same. This is not how you want to spend the holidays. This is the year you change all this and make sure that you and your family members have the time to live a healthy life.
- Make time to move. This means scheduling time for yourself and your family to get some exercise. Whether this is a family walk every evening, getting to every hockey practice, or committing to your yoga schedule – prioritize what works for each family member.
- Make time for fun. Think of the things you do as a family and alone that get you smiling and relaxed. Saturday afternoon movies, pizza night, book club – whatever it is, make sure these continue during the holiday season.
- Make time to breathe. This might seem a bit strange, but when we’re so busy rushing from event to event, it can be hard to keep track of where you are. By taking a deep breath before you leave the house or before you start a new holiday project, you’re able to clear your mind and focus on what you’re doing right now. This brings better focus and appreciation to what is in front of you.
Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a joyful and happy time. It can be easy to get sucked into the holiday frenzy. We’ve all done it. Make 2018 different and make this the holiday season that you stay focused on what is truly important to you.
We want to hear from you. Visit the AHCC Research Facebook community group and tell us about your holiday survival tips. How do you keep the holiday stress levels down and keep the fun factor high?