It’s that time of year again… lots of food, lots of family, and for most women, lots of stress. The holiday season, with all its joys, brings added expectations and responsibilities for most women that can leave us feeling ragged instead of joyful.
Here are five tips for managing stress levels in order to stay healthy and happy this holiday season:
1) Protect Your Exercise Routine: When schedules get packed, exercise is often the first thing to get chopped, but it should be one thing you protect the most. Exercise can help you stabilize your mood, clear your head, and give you an energy boost for the task that lie ahead.
As an added bonus, it can also help you account for those extra pieces of pumpkin pie. Exercise during the holidays doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym, though. Take a walk with a favorite family member or get everyone off the couch for a post-turkey stroll. You’ll be helping your health and getting in some quality family time.
2) Eat for Wellness: Sure, we all know that we need to watch what we eat during the holidays, but too often we focus on what we shouldn’t eat, instead of what we should. Keep eating regular, healthy meals that include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates, even if you’re going to a party later.
Be sure to drink lots of water so you stay hydrated. Feeling physically well can help us feel mentally well too. Read our blog post on “Six Foods Every Woman Needs” if you need some nutrition inspiration.
3) Get Some Extra Sleep: As the shortest day of the year approaches, our bodies naturally want to sleep a little more. Don’t fudge on your sleep levels or fight the urge to tuck in early. Most women don’t get near the recommended eight hours of nightly sleep, even though more rest helps women keep off extra weight, wards of depression, and aids in a healthy immune system according to the National Institute of Health.
4) Limit Your Commitments: A lot of times, we find ourselves committed to activities or responsibilities that leave us feeling drained and resentful. Limiting the number of activities you commit to over the holiday season can help you enjoy what really matters- the people you care for most.
Before the holiday season begins, consider rating your priorities and scheduling time for what’s most important. That way when other commitments come your way, you’ll already have a reason to say no.
5) Treat Yourself! It’s important to take care of yourself, especially during high stress times. So don’t hesitate to schedule a massage, a pedicure, or a girl’s outing to help you manage the extra stress.
All About Women aims to provide compassionate women’s preventive care all year round.
And we, the OB/GYNs, midwives, nurses and staff at both our Gainesville and Lake City offices, want to wish you a holiday season marked by wellness!