The holiday season is upon us and that means plenty of time spent with family and friends, way too much food, and memories to last a lifetime. However, the holidays can be chaotic as you try to keep up with gatherings, shopping, cooking, and baking, all while maintaining that festive cheer. To avoid becoming the town Scrooge, here a few ways to keep the stress at bay.
Trust Your Gut and Treat It Well
When the holidays arrive, it seems that cold and flu season hitches a ride, which means you should be proactive about staying on top of your vitamins and supplements. However, did you know that your overall health actually starts in your gut? Your gut is full of bacteria, and they all play a part, but two in particular (Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium Longum) have been shown to help reduce the level of stress hormone in your body as well as your stress reaction. Consider giving yourself a healthy gift this year and add these supplements to the mix.
Another way to take care of your gut microbiome is to be mindful of what you are putting in your body. The saying you are what you eat holds true in that what you put in your mouth can affect your waistline and your mood. Resist the temptation to overindulge on sweet treats and holiday leftovers that you’ll stress over later, resulting in negative effects like acid reflux, cramps, and gas. Opt instead for whole foods, and be sure to eat fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut to really boost your gut health
Don’t Skip Exercise
All that running around during the holidays might make you feel like you ran a marathon, but exercise needs to be done in an environment where you can focus on your body and mind. Doing so enables you to get the most benefit out of your exercise, which is the production and release of endorphins. According to Healthline, “They can trigger a positive feeling in the body, boosting mood and reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.” A gym workout is one way to get exercise, but there are other options too such as walking, jogging, biking, or playing sports. Another form of exercise worth a try is yoga. Whether you are a beginner or a yogi, break out the mat and breathe your way through the holiday season. Yoga is the ultimate mindfulness practice, helping you to stay present, uplifted, energized, and worry-free. If you are new to yoga or simply prefer guidance and support at your fingertips, find an online yoga community such as Pilgrimage Yoga Online.
Learn the Power of No
Saying no isn’t something that comes easy, but never is its power more evident than during the holidays. As Hello Giggles puts it, “It’s in our nature to be socially obliging, even at our own expense, and the word “no” feels like confrontation that threatens a potential bond,” leading you to feel overextended, overwhelmed, and stressed. Perhaps you feel as though saying no is rude, but it can be said in a respectful manner. Say something like: “I wish I could, but I can’t take on anything else this week” or “I’d love to, but I’m a little overextended at the moment.” Most importantly, you should never feel guilty for saying no.
Make Time to Relax
Although this is a busy time of year, there are actually plenty of opportunities for fun and relaxation. Get in the spirit by putting on your coziest pajamas and listening to your favorite music or binge watching holiday movies. Find unique activities to try that don’t involve immersing yourself in the chaos that is the mall. Perhaps you could go for a sleigh ride, go caroling, look at holiday lights, or volunteer. You could even make relaxation a new holiday tradition where the family designates an event-free day to rest and recharge in whatever way works for them. If you are crunched for time, take comfort knowing there are ways to relax that take no more than five minutes of your time – just check out this list for proof.
It’s a busy time of year, but the holidays don’t have to be synonymous with stress. Keep that overwhelming feeling at bay by eating right, exercising, learning to say no, and making time for yourself. With the right attitude and a little bit of effort, you can truly experience holiday cheer.