The holiday season can be a stressful and exciting time for many people. Crowded shopping malls, draining your bank account, frequent chats with your in-laws, and back-to-back parties that would ruin any diet may have you feeling not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year!
Here we talk about how to navigate the holidays successfully with our 7 tips to help you avoid stress during the holidays.
Take a Breath of Fresh Air
Walk off your stress with a 30 minute walk each day outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine boost the immune system and increase endorphins-the feel happy hormone! Its also ok to walk away from stressful family situations; excuse yourself if things are getting tense and go for a walk outside to regroup so that you can communicate calmly and effectively with those that get you most riled up.
Don’t Abandon Healthy Habits
It’s hard to stick to a diet through the holidays, but eating every sweet treat in sight will leave you with less than optimal digestion and mood! Eat a healthy snack like an apple or hard boiled egg before holiday parties so you don’t over do it on the cheese and meat platter. Dr. Miller tells all her patients that a realistic goal for the holidays is to not gain any weight– “if you just have the goal of maintaining your weight through the holiday season you are being realistic with your expectations. Trying to lose weight during the holidays is setting yourself up for failure which can lead to overeating down the road and causes weight gain in the long run.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
If you only keep one essential oil in your travel bag, this is it! Most people know lavender for its calming and anti-anxiety effects, you can add a few drops to a bath to increase relaxation, or rub some on your temples to reduce tension and headaches. But did you know that lavender is also great at healing burns and cuts? If you’re headed on a tropical family vacation make sure to throw some in your travel bag! Please note, essential oils are for topical use only.
Lavela pills, an oral medical grade preparation of lavender was found to be as effective as lorazepam in reducing anxiety in generalized anxiety patients (1), with fewer side effects. You should always consult your Doctor before taking any new supplements.
Say Yes— To Sex!
Couples and parents need some alone time to unwind and connect away from all the hustle and bustle. Having sex burn calories, boosts immunity, reduces stress, and causes the release of endorphins and oxytocin which helps with happiness and sound sleep!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For An Invite…Or Extend An Invite
Often times people don’t know you will be alone during the holidays. Speak up to your friends and co-workers and let them know you won’t be going home this year; someone will be more than happy to include you in their family traditions this season. Conversely, if you suspect someone might not have relatives or family to celebrate with, extend an invite to them and show them how your family celebrates their favorite traditions.
Don’t Go Broke
Spending more than you can afford will make you and your spouse stressed now, and for the months to come when you are trying to pay off credit cards that you could not afford! Smaller children are easy to please so don’t break the bank on their account, some inexpensive toys will do the trick! Being with your family should be enough if you can’t afford presents this year. However, if you want to give a little homemade gift, a nice picture in a frame is an inexpensive and memorable present. And most importantly, kids and adults alike care most about making memories with their loved ones.
Seek professional help if you need it
Despite your efforts to try and stay happy, you may find yourself feeling down and blue. If you find that you have no desire to get out of bed, see people, leave the house, or do regular day to day activities like showering and eating, you may need to talk to a professional. Reach out to your doctor, or if you or someone else is experiencing a mental health crisis and need to speak with someone immediately, you may also call the following, available 24/7:
- King County Crisis Line: 866-427-4747
- Community Care Line nurse consult service: (206) 744-2500
- Woelk H, Schläfke S., A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):94-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.006. Epub 2009 Dec 3.