5 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress & Improve Your Health
1. Stay hydrated. Every time you grab a glass of water give yourself a mental high five, I’m totally serious. This is one of the most important things you can do for your health and I for one have been neglecting it big time. Experts agree that hydration is the key to happiness in a major way. Need more of an incentive to drink more H2O and less hot chocolate? Check this out:
- It is needed to detox your body and mind.
- It aids your digestion and keeps you regular.
- Drinking water prevents dehydration, helps with weight loss and helps hydrates the skin, reducing the signs of aging.
- The Institute of Medicine suggests that women have an intake of 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. A good rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces.
2. Cut back on the caffeine. Coffee can dehydrate you big time, and although it’s tempting on a chilly day, try drinking tea instead. The health benefits of tea are way better for your brain and body. Research suggests tea can increase immunity, fight free radicals, reduce cancer risks, heart disease, and other ailments. I can’t cut out coffee entirely, but I have started to drink more caffeine-free tea. It’s hydrating and tasty! If you love your coffee like me, try cutting back on the quantity instead. Serve yourself smaller cups, and try adding more milk or creamer to your cup.
3. Practice Mindfulness. FYI mindfulness does NOT mean meditation. You don’t have to sit on a mat, do yoga or be still for mindfulness to be helpful. Research shows mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety as it supports the central nervous system. A few mindful minutes a day can help you get calm and focused. Just being aware of the present moment or activity can be mindful. Apps like HeadSpace are free and help you practice mindfulness on the go.
Mindfulness can also help you feel less stress and more confident. People who take time to be present have more awareness of their bodies and more control over their emotions. It isn’t easy to take time during the holidays to be mindful, but it’s important for your well-being. Mindful coloring books are all the rage this year. Get mindful and creative, you’ll be amazed at how fun and relaxed it can be.
4. Schedule ME time. It’s easy neglect self-care with the added holiday stress, but trust me, DON’T. Whether you take some time in between holiday shopping to get a massage, bake or cook by yourself, watch a movie or take a walk all of this is healthy. You need ME time to recharge your batteries. You may think that you’re being selfish, but no it’s actually helping you become more helpful. Without self-care you will feel more resentful and have less energy to give others. Check out how my friend Jill practices self-care even during the hectic holiday season. After you take some time for you, don’t rush back to reality. Give yourself some credit for pausing and taking care of yourself, then slowly head back to the madness.
5. Practice Gratitude. Shift your mind and change your mood with gratitude. If you feel stress taking over here are a few simple exercises that help.
- a simple exercise I do is say thank you outloud for 5-10 things in my life at this moment (usually done inside by myself because walking around talking to myself may freak people out). I challenge myself to think of things in the moment or in the day that I truly am grateful for. I try to think of new ones each time. Gratitude helps you shift your energy BIG TIME. Try writing a writing exercise.
- Think of a person you have gratitude for from the past: a teacher, an ex, a friend, an old family member and how they helped you get where you are today.
- A person in your life currently and why you are grateful for them in you current situation.
- An object in the area you are currently in (this is kind of mindful too). Say you are reading this and thinking, I’m grateful for this computer/phone because it has allowed me to find this article. Totally counts guys! it can also be the comfy chair you are sitting in or the heat in your home.
You deserve to be happy and healthy. If you want to be less stressed and more present for your family and friends try something on this list. Have a happy holiday!
Take Good Care,
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is The Guidance Girl. Her goal is to help YOU become the most confident person you know! Emily is an award-winning author Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, Educational Speaker, and parenting consultant. She travels around the country educating girls, women, and parents. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.