Holiday times are supposed to be happy times. Right? Well…Maybe.
For many the holidays are stressful. There’s the pressure to “get it all done” before the end of the year. There are the office parties and the family gatherings where you have to be on your best behavior. There’s the financial strain of overspending on gifts and entertaining. And then there’s that end-of-the-year taking stock of what you have- and have not- accomplished.
If you feel stressed this time of the year you are not alone. The The American Psychological Association holiday statistics report in 2011 said up to 69% of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69% are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51% feel stressed out over the “pressure to give or get gifts.”
Here are some of my tips for reducing stress over the holidays:
- Get outside and take a walk or a bike ride. Nature nurtures your body and nourishes your soul. Make Black Friday your Green Friday. Many state parks are offering free passes the day after Thanksgiving. To find out if your state offers free passes call your local parks department of visit the National Parks Service.
- Hydrate throughout the day. Stress is dehydrating, especially if you neglect to eat or eat the wrong things. Drink six 8 ounce glasses of water daily. If you live in a dry climate, engage in athletics or are drinking more than usual you may way to ramp up your water intake.
- Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy snack foods versus processed and packaged ones. Cut up fresh vegetables and place into small plastic baggies for single portion, ready-to-nibble on servings. Have hummus, baba ganoush, unsweetened plain yogurt and nut butters on hand for healthy spreads and dips.
- Shorten your “To Do” list to no more than 5 things. Divide tasks into “essential” and “can wait.” If you can afford to hire a “gofer” assistant to help you, do it. Many people, especially students or those out of work, are looking to earn extra cash over the holidays and would gladly stand in line at the post office, run errands for you or help you organize.
- Get enough sleep. To make sure you sleep soundly avoid drinking caffeinated beverages in the late evening and eating a dinner too late. The later it gets the lighter your food intake should be.
- Eat something light before you go to a party. Some dinner parties have long cocktail receptions. Eating something before you go will help you avoid over indulging on hors d’oeuvres.
- Stand away from the buffet tables and bars. Keep temptation out of reach. Personally, I don’t like to eat standing up balancing a plate in one hand and a glass in another. I’d rather use my hands to give someone a hug.
- No “trade off eating” Don’t skip meals during the day so you can indulge at an evening dinner. Skipping meals can lead to overeating or eating the wrong foods later and it can affect your energy, mood and metabolism.
- Drink one glass of water for every glass of wine.
- You don’t have to eat everything offered or clean your plate. One to three bites will satiate you. A tip someone taught me once: If you want to stop eating something at a banquet or dinner, drench it with salt. Just don’t let anyone try to nibble off your plate afterward!
Holidays are about fun and gathering with friends. But with shorter days and longer nights, the onset of winter can also affect one’s mood. Take it easy and pace yourself. The best gift you can give is time to yourself to relax and enjoy and not rush.
Want more tips for smarter Holiday Eating? Tune into Fearless Fabulous You! Monday, November 23, 4pmEST to hear from Registered Dietitian Amanda Foti, Selvera Wellness. I will share some of Amanda’s tips in my next post.
Listen to all episodes on iHeart.com and the iHeart App anytime. Here is the cut and paste link: https://www.iheart.com/show/209-Fearless-Fabulous-You/
Want to learn how to manage your stress in a beautiful and relaxing setting? Come join me in Los Cabos, Mexico February 25-29, 2016 for my Fabulous Retreat. Early bird discounts apply through December 15th. Learn more and book at www.MyRetreatsUnlimited.com