The holidays may be happy and joyful for some, but not all. For many, the holidays can also be a time of added stress
Some Tips to Enjoy a More Peaceful and Healthy Holiday Season –
#1. Moderation. Moderation. Moderation. Simply your life, especially at the holidays. Moderation in everything, eating, drinking, shopping, and holiday parties and gatherings. Don’t feel like you have to do everything and accept every holiday invitation. L
#2. The 80/20 Rule. Also known as the “Pareto Principle,” named after founder, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, back in 1848. Pareto found that people can achieve 80% of success with 20% effort. Knowing that we cannot do everything, and perfection is a myth, Instead of trying to do the impossible, a Pareto approach could be, deciding which holiday projects or events are most important to you. Then, consider 20% of the specific tasks to focus on to achieve those goals that make you happiest. Do those, then drop the rest.
#3. Learn to say ‘no” and loose the guilt. Overextending oneself, even for fun activities, can lead to frustration, stress and even exhaustion and illness. Guilt weights heavy, both literally and figuratively. Make heart-centered, healthy choices, with a me-first attitude, knowing that taking care of yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, allows you to be more present for others, when needed.
#4. Make Time for Yourself to Relax Each Day. Breathing relaxation, mindful meditation, guided imagery and meditation, self-hypnosis, self-reiki can all be learned and put into daily practice. Even 3, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes can make a difference and promote health and wellbeing. Treat yourself to an acupuncture, massage, reflexology or reiki session. Take a gentle, yin yoga class.
#5. Make Time to Exercise Each Day. Research shows that exercise (especially aerobic) helpfully boosts our mood and make us feel better by releasing healthy hormones and raising healthy neurotransmitter levels (i.e.endorphins, serotonin). Mantras for Healthy Exercise: “Exercise energizes me.” “Exercise makes me feel better.” Exercise makes me smile.” “A day without exercise is like a day without brushing my teeth.”
#6. Healthy Holiday Eating/Drinking. Eat a healthy meal or snack before the party. Small plates and bowls allow for healthy portions. Maintain healthy thoughts around healthy eating. Guilt-free holiday eating from Harvard Health Publishing. Mantras for Healthy Eating: “Healthy, balanced, nutritious meals energize me.” I make healthy choices in line with my highest good.” “Healthy is as healthy does.” “A sliver instead of a slice.” “One is enough, two is too many.” “One and done.” Another 80/20 Rule – Stop eating when 80% full. From the teachings of Hyakuten Inamoto Sensei, Buddhist monk and Founder of Komyo ReikiDo™ – “It is advisable to eat frequent, small amounts rather than two or three big meals, and to leave the stomach 20% empty. A feeling of slight hunger goes a long way toward many health benefits.”
#7. Create Special Holiday Memories. Rather than purchasing material items, consider making the holidays about making fun memories with family, friends and neighbors, at low or no cost. Consider a movie, music, cooking baking or scrap booking night. Walk or drive to view holiday decorations. Enjoy an evening of star gazing. Material things can get lost, broken or discarded, but memories live on.
#8. Do Something for Those Less Fortunate. Research shows that helping others is actually beneficial for your own mental health and well being. It can help reduce stress, improve your emotional wellbeing and even benefit your physical health. Consider gifts and/or letters to those serving in the military overseas. Visit someone in a nursing home. Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen. Offer to bake, cook or decorate for someone who is not able.
#9. Maintain and Daily Attitude of Gratitude. Keep a daily gratitude journal; find one to three things you are grateful for each day. Think about or meditate on people and things you are grateful for. Recommended reading: Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
#10. Seek Professional Help. The holidays can lead to increased thoughts and feelings of depression. If that is the case, seek support. Talk to your doctor. Reach out to family, friends, neighbors that live alone, and offer support.
For Information on and Services for Relaxation and Stress Relief – Emaildreamtimewellness@gmail.com or phone 978-283-4258.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and memorable holiday season,
~ Karen Pischke BSN, RN
Sources and More Information:
- Anxiety and Depression: Exercise Eases Symptom. Mayo Clinic. Bellingrath S, Kudielka BM. Effort-reward-imbalance and overcommitment are associated with hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responses to acute psychosocial stress in healthy working schoolteachers. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2008 Nov;33(10):1335-43. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.07.008. Epub 2008 Sep 5.
- Holiday Stress.
- Inamoto, Hyakuten Sensei. Chuden/2nd Degree Reiki Manual. 2019. pg 25. Komyo ReikiDo™ Kyoto Japan.
- More Evidence that Exercise can Boost Mood. Harvard Healthy Publishing.
- Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and well being: the benefits of appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)), 7(11), 18–22.
- Stress, Depression and the Holidays: Tips for Coping. Mayo Clinic.