With the joy of the season often comes a lot of stress. Statistics show that more than 50 percent of people report feeling stressed during the holidays by lack of time, lack of money and the pressure to get or give gifts.
We spend so much of the holiday season doing for others; make some time to take care of yourself, too. Included here are a few tips to help keep you healthy in mind and body so you can enjoy the season to its fullest.
1. Get physical. Keep up your gym routine or bundle up and get out regularly for a vigorous walk, jog or hike. If youre feeling especially stressed, yoga and Pilates are a good way to help your body relax. Just like you schedule drinks with friends and time for shopping, schedule time to exercise. The myriad of benefits include improving your mood, boosting your energy and helping keep those extra pounds off.
2. Sleep. Research shows that short-term effects from sleep deprivation include irritability, trouble concentrating and greater levels of stress hormones; long-term effects can include obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and depression. If youre feeling stressed and having trouble sleeping, take some time to wind down before bed turn off the screen, have a cup of herbal tea, read a book and stick to a routine, as our bodies become used to waking and sleeping based on our personal schedules.
3. Indulge in moderation. There are so many good things to eat (and drink) this time of year. Enjoy holiday treats in moderation and your waistline will thank you. Avoid overindulging in cookies and candy that magically appear this time of year, and make a conscious choice to snack healthy by bringing along an apple or a handful of almonds. Pass on the second helping, have a smaller piece of pie for dessert, and head out for a brisk walk around the neighborhood after enjoying dinner.
4. Prioritize. There are only so many hours in the day. Tackle the things that must be done and leave the rest for later. Or, better yet, ask for help. If youre hosting a meal, ask relatives to bring a dish or order your pies from a local bakery. Take advantage of gift-wrapping services stores offer (its the thought that counts). Looking for ways to lighten your load will save you time (and stress).
5. Laugh regularly and often. Laughter is one of the best stress relievers. A good, hearty laugh relaxes your whole body, relieving physical tension and stress. It boost your immune system, triggers the release of endorphins (natural chemicals that make you feel good), and increases blood flow.
Challenge yourself to make your physical and mental health a priority this holiday season and youll have an even more enjoyable time. From all of us at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Happy Holidays!