Depending on when you read this, you are probably either gearing up for Thanksgiving or getting serious about tackling your holiday to-do list after the big meal. Either way, we are in the midst of our holiday to-dos, and that means stress. A certain amount of stress is unavoidable during the holidays when we have extra tasks on our plate, but it’s important to manage it, so it doesn’t take a toll on your physical or mental health. Here are six ways you can put wellness front and center this holiday season.
1. Start with Healthy Boundaries
If you feel overwhelmed around the holidays year after year, this may be a sign that you need better boundaries. Taking on too much will drain your joy and leave you feeling worn-out. It’s better to say no or scale back. Delegation is also important. This year, try making a list of all the things you typically do to celebrate the season and then dividing them into columns according to what you have to do, what you can delegate to someone else, and things you want to do but could skip if needed.
Remember that you aren’t obligated to do the same things every year. You may have enjoyed throwing that party for everyone in your extended family back in 2019, but if you aren’t up to it this year, that’s alright.
Don’t be afraid to turn down invitations if you don’t have time. Make a plan about what you think you can reasonably do and how many events you can attend and stick to it. More isn’t always better, sometimes having less to do can make the holidays more enjoyable.
2. Personalize Your Holidays
Everyone has a different holiday style and their own favorite traditions. Think about what you love most about the season and try to include more of those things in your holiday schedule. Knowing what you like can help you prioritize and set better boundaries. For instance, if you love decorating cookies with your kids but aren’t a huge fan of your office party, skip the party and decorate cookies instead. Some people feel the spirit of the season when they go to light displays or put on their favorite ugly sweater. Find what you love and then do more of it.
3. Take Time for Yourself
The holidays typically include a lot of extra socializing, and sometimes that can be overwhelming. If you need a lot of alone time, make sure to set aside time for that during the holidays. On the other hand, it’s important to recognize if you are isolating yourself because you are stressed or blue. People who are prone to this may feel better if they force themselves to socialize. Making time for your normal social routine during the holidays can be difficult, but meeting a friend for coffee might relieve some of your stress.
Whatever you do to unwind, whether it’s meeting a friend or reading a book alone, don’t skip it this holiday season. You will enjoy the holidays more if you feel grounded and centered, rather than neglected or burnt out.
4. Practice Good Coping Skills
Stress will happen this holiday season, and when it does, you’ll need some tools to help you deal with it. Take some time to check in with your stress regulating toolbox now. Practicing your meditation for a few minutes a day, getting back into your yoga or workout routine, creating art, or just practicing deep breathing are some of the things you can do to mitigate the effects of stress.
These coping mechanisms won’t completely eliminate stress, but they will help your body and mind return to baseline. This means ending your fight or flight response instead of letting it become chronic. Chronic stress leads to anxiety, depression, lowered immune response, and more pain. By actively letting go of your stress, you can encourage a healthier stress response.
5. Don’t Force Your Feelings
There’s a lot of pressure this time of year to feel joyful and energetic. This can make dealing with a chronic illness, depression, or grief even harder than at other times. Being honest with yourself about how you really feel can make things easier. By facing up to your feelings, you can feel more in control. If you know you always feel a bit blue this time of year, be gentle with yourself and don’t take on an overwhelming amount of commitments. If you feel comfortable doing so, let your friends and close family know that you are struggling. Having a support system could help you feel better and enjoy the holidays more.
6. Take Care of Your Body
The holidays offer a cornucopia of opportunities to abuse our physical health. Many people start the new year feeling unhealthy after two months of overeating, over-stressing, and not exercising. You can avoid this by sticking to your healthy habits through the holidays. Yes, this can be easier said than done, but it’s not impossible.
Start by being honest with yourself about where you usually struggle this time of year, then make a plan. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support if the holidays trigger stress eating or an eating disorder. Sometimes taking a halfway approach to health is better than completely letting it go. For instance, if you just can’t make it to the gym five days a week this time of year, make a goal to go three times. Have realistic expectations about what you will eat at holiday gatherings, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that small portions can give you all the flavor without as many calories.
Managing your stress is as important for your body as your mind. Constant tension can cause muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. In addition to managing your stress, it’s a good idea to check in with your chiropractor. He can provide treatments to minimize your aches and pains and improve your overall health.
Wellness Help in Michigan
At Burkhart Chiropractic, we offer holistic healthcare and lifestyle advice to help our clients meet their wellness goals. Visit us this holiday season and see how we can help you feel better.