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How to Stay Healthy (and Sane) During the Holidays

The holiday season is meant to be merry but sometimes it can be super stressful. We compiled some of our best tips for staying healthy during the holidays. Read on to learn more.

mother and daughter decorating Christmas tree

The holiday season has been coined as ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ And it truly is. From fun family traditions to a colorful string of lights and festive greeting cards, there is so much to love. Yet for some, it can be a time of stress, heartache, and cash concerns. If you’re feeling a little blue this year, read on. We are re-sharing tips from our experts on how to stay healthy (and sane) during the holidays.

#1 – De-stress and get back your holiday cheer

If you find this time of year stressful, you’re not alone. In fact, 88% of people report feeling stressed during the holiday. Here are three ways you can de-stress and avoid that Scrooge attitude:

  1. Count your breaths
  • Find some me-time in your busy holiday schedule to practice breath counting. This practice can help reduce anxiety, depression, irritability, muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue. To start:
  • Find a comfortable position with your back straight and head facing forward.
  • Softly close your eyes and take some deep breaths.
  • Count out loud each time you exhale.
  • As thoughts enter your mind, observe them without judgment, and then return to counting your breaths.
  • If you lose track of your count, simply start over at one.

The act of focus and deep breathing requires time and effort to improve. If you can complete two minutes when you start, strive to develop a four-minute practice. From there, gradually increase to an ultimate goal of 20 minutes.

Talk yourself up

  • How you talk to yourself is important. Self-talk such as, “I’m so busy, I don’t have time for myself,” can trigger you to behave in ways that are not supportive of your goals. If your inner dialogue is filled with negative self-statements, you can change your inner speech to be uplifting and supportive. Try this two-step approach:
  1. Become aware of the negative things you are saying to yourself. Write them down.
  2. Next to the negative self-talk, write down new inner dialogue that is positive to replace the old.
  • For example, if your negative statement was: “I can’t believe I ate all those holiday cookies. I have no self-control.” Re-write it to say: “I ate more cookies than I planned to. That’s okay. I will make mindful choices tomorrow.”
  • Mantra meditation
  1. Meet the oldest relaxation technique … meditation! To get your Zen on, find a quiet place free of distraction and clutter. Select a mantra such as a calming word or phrase like “peace” or “I am present.” Choose a comfy position and relax your muscles. Breathe deeply through your nose, and as you breathe out silently repeat the mantra. Try this for 10-20 minutes. If you have distracting thoughts, acknowledge them and refocus.

#2 – Practice the act of gratitude

If there is one holiday meant for gratitude, it’s Thanksgiving. But we encourage you to practice showing gratitude throughout this entire holiday season as well as all year. The act of gratitude can boost your overall well-being and happiness.

So, what exactly does that mean? In action, gratitude is realizing you’re appreciative of what you have or what you’re doing in the here and now. At the end of the week, take time to reflect on the previous days and write down three to five things you’re grateful for.

Take it up another notch and share your gratitude with others:

  1. Write a short note sharing your appreciation for a person in your life and give it to them.
  2. If writing isn’t your thing, tell that person why you are thankful for them.

Sharing your gratitude with others leads to higher levels of well-being for longer periods of time. Who knows, you may also boost the happiness of others while you’re at it!

#3 – Rallying the support you need

A great way to combat life when it gets challenging is rallying up the support of those around you. In fact, inviting others to be a part of your journey can help you reach your goals. First, let’s take a look at what support looks like. The best way to get the support you want is to ask for it. To do so, you need to know the different types of support:

  • Emotional support: Gives you physical comfort, such as a hug or pat on the back. This can also be someone listening to you and empathizing.
  • Informational support: This is sharing advice, offering suggestions, or giving you facts.
  • Instrumental support: Taking action to help you manage a problem or providing you with tangible help (such as watching the kids or cooking a meal for you).
  • Appraisal support: This is giving encouragement and boosting your confidence.

Now that you have a better understanding of the types of support, let’s chat about how you can rally up the support you truly need.

  • Identify your need. Looking at the support types above, think of someone in your life that can help with the kind of support you need most right now.
  • Ask. Make sure you ask for what you need. This may mean asking more than once and that’s okay.
  • Be specific. Instead of asking for “instrumental support” from a coworker, ask them if they would be willing to have calls transferred to them so you can take a 15-minute walk a few times each week. Or let a friend know you need someone to encourage you to hit the gym and invite them to join.

Did you like our healthy holiday tips? This is an example of the advice our members receive as part of our health coaching. Schedule a free consultation to learn how Profile can support you with getting healthy.