The holidays can be a really difficult time for most people. It’s the one time of the year you are supposed to be jolly and merry but it can effect some people in exactly the opposite way. We get so caught up in dinners, presents, parties, and endless family visits that we forget to take a step back and appreciate the holiday. Veronica Williams (pictured) offers some tips on how to keep your sanity during this overwhelming time.
Take a Deep Breathe
This may sound incredibly easy but it can be the hardest thing to do, so just try and relax, and take a deep breath. “Proper breathing techniques work on anxiety on a physiological level by automatically slowing your heart rate. The effect on anxiety is almost instant. Because calm breathing is a physiological strategy, this approach is also universally effective for getting anxiety relief!” says Alice Boyes PhD. Once a day take some time to yourself to just breathe and empty your mind, this can be accomplished through a guided meditation or some alone time going on a walk.
Stay Away from the Cookies
According to Associated British Foods the average person eats 7,000 calories on Christmas day! During the holidays we can get into a slump eating high-calorie and sugary foods. During the holidays one thing you can do to keep your sanity is to eat healthy. Skip out on those holiday cookies brought into the office, stick to only one helping at holiday meals, and keep your portions under control. It’s important to enjoy your favorite holiday foods but everything is better in moderation.
Let Sugar Plums Dance
Over Your Head
Sleep is the key to handling stress. “When we do not sleep long or well enough, our bodies do not get the full benefits of sleep, such as muscle repair and memory consolidation. Sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory, judgment and mood,” according the American Psychological Association. In a survey from 2013 by the American Psychological Association it was found that adults who report getting less than eight hours of sleep often experience irritability, anger, feel overwhelmed, have a lack of interest or energy, and often skip exercise.
The colder it gets outside the harder it is to make yourself go to the gym. It’s so important that during the holidays you are still getting regular exercise. Join a yoga studio and try “Restorative Yoga” this will help to keep you active and slow your mind.
Take a Moment for Yourself
We focus so much on other people during the holidays. Everyday set aside 5-10 minutes to do something for yourself. Whether it’s taking a bath, playing your favorite game, or going to a new place for a winter hike! There are so many different things you can do to practice self-care. Dr. Linda Patin PhD always tells her patients, “you have to be your best friend.” There is no exception for that even during the holidays.
Help Your Community
The holidays have become a time all about “me, me, me” that we lose the focus on giving back. There are so many programs out there around the holidays to help the less fortunate and organizations are always looking for volunteers. So instead of focusing your time and energy on having a picture perfect holiday party get everyone together and volunteer at your local homeless shelter. Hearing other people’s stories can put into perspective what really matters.
The Art of Appreciation
During the holiday through the Pinterest boards, store displays, and endless advertisements we lose sight of everything we have. Practice the art of appreciation this holiday season. Take a moment and write down everything you really appreciative, then carry that list around with you throughout the holidays and add to it. Every time you are feeling ungrateful and dissatisfied pull out your list read through it, add one more thing each time.
Keep a Budget
The most stressful thing about the holidays is money. It’s important to set a budget for the holidays and stick to it. The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts this year! Focus on giving presents that mean something more than presents that are extravagant.
Between holiday parties, seeing family, and endless holiday activities it is so easy to stretch yourself during. Don’t commit to more than you can handle. Plan time for yourself and don’t commit if it cuts into precious time you need to keep your sanity.
It can be so hard to keep your sanity during the holiday. It’s a wonderful time of the year that should be treasured. Let these tips guide you to a peaceful holiday season this year. Most importantly though be in the moment, be thankful, and shine love and light this holiday season.