For many of us, the holiday season is equal parts exciting and exhausting. Between gift shopping, decorating the house, and attending a dizzying procession of office parties, family gatherings, and holiday-themed events, it can be easy to fall victim to stress and over-stimulation. Unfortunately, we don't often realize this until it's too late and our bodies succumb to sickness or extreme fatigue, making the once-joyful holiday season one we'd soon rather forget.
While our fast-paced culture constantly tempts us to keep the pedal to the metal, it's important for you to take time to engage in some much-needed self-care. Below are some practical tips you can use to ensure that you're taking care of "you" during the holiday season, so you can truly enjoy this special time of the year.
1. Don't over-commit yourself.
Spreading yourself too thin is a surefire way to heap a ton of stress on yourself during the holidays. It's very easy to jam-pack your schedule with all kinds of extra projects (e.g., volunteering to plan the office Christmas party, baking for your kids' school celebration, etc.), but this can become a time-consuming vortex that can leave you physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.
Do your best to be realistic about your time commitments, because let's face it--no matter how great you are at planning, things almost always take more time and effort than what you initially estimate. Prioritize the most important activities (the ones that are the most meaningful to you and your family), and then if you have any openings left on your schedule, carefully take on additional projects.
2. Practice doing things in moderation.
The holidays seem to be synonymous with indulgence, whether it's eating too much, spending too much money on gifts, or cramming too much activity into our days (see the previous point). In light of the temptation to go big, it's better to consciously practice moderation.
Most of us are in tune with ourselves enough to know when we're crossing the line, so pay attention when that inner voice is telling you to pump the brakes. Putt a few rules in place ahead of time--for example, you could make up your mind to abstain from going for seconds at the holiday dinner, or establish a spending limit on gifts before you even head out to the mall.
Not only will exercising help you burn those extra holiday calories, but it will improve your circulation, contribute to better sleep, and promote a greater sense of overall well-being. Don't worry about trying to fit some elaborate workout plan into your schedule--it can be something as simple as a 30-minute walk outside or on the treadmill every morning or a 20-minute tabata session 3 or 4 times a week.
4. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Let's face it--typical holiday fare is far from healthy, so you're going to have to make up the difference somewhere. By eating fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, you'll fortify your immune system with powerful antioxidants, which will help you stay healthy during times of added stress and busyness.
It's hard for you to focus on enjoying time with friends and family when you're feeling physically run down and emotionally spent. Use the tips outlined above to help you maintain your health and sanity, so you can enjoy optimal personal wellness throughout the holiday season.