Emphasize The Joy: Simplify The Holidays

Holiday festivities do not end after one day—they often linger through the whole week. If you count all the preparation, the demands of the holidays may already be taking its toll on your patience and blood pressure. Make this time more enjoyable for yourself and others by decreasing that holiday stress.

Stay focused on what is important
Start by setting realistic expectations. The holidays are a time to spend quality time with the special people in your life. To maximize the quality in that time, you may need to require that everyone take a break from phones, texts and emails—just for an hour or two—so you can connect with each other. Play games, watch a movie together, or take a walk. Just remind yourself to be flexible when plans change. You can also brainstorm with family members to create a new tradition this year, like learning a new craft or hobby, starting a new activity, having a movie marathon, or volunteering in your community as a family.

Do not neglect your health
You may not be able to keep your usual routine, but stay active, even if you can’t get to the gym. Squeeze in some activity by taking a 15-minute stroll or jog through the neighborhood, an extra lap or two around the shopping mall before heading home, or a quick walk around the airport if you have extra time before your flight. 

The holidays is not a time to focus on weight loss. Go ahead and enjoy your favorite holiday foods in small portions—just don’t overindulge. Sugary holiday food and beverages can make you feel sluggish. Drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated and give you more energy.

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That’s right! Go ahead and eat those holiday cookies! To keep yourself from cleaning out the cookie jar, make sure to eat a healthy meal and drink a glass of water first. Then indulge.

Holiday stress often leads to late nights and lost sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, low energy and attention levels, and irregular sleep patterns. Take time during the holiday break to rest up and get back into regular sleep patterns.

Get into the season of giving
Science has proven that our mood improves as we give to others. Leave small surprise gifts for neighbors, co-workers, or people who help you throughout the year. Make the day special for your loved one by leaving notes of appreciation for them around the house or in their pockets to find later. These post-holiday gifts makes the season last longer.

Take time for yourself
If you start feeling overwhelmed or stressed by all the commotion, excuse yourself and take some time to relax and reframe. Take a short walk or find a quiet place to relax. The holidays mean different things to everyone. Give yourself, and others, the space to find balance between the holidays and personal needs so that everyone can enjoy the time together.

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The holidays are filled with plenty of excitement and stress. Make sure to rest and take breaks so that you can enjoy the time with your family… or at least get through it without clenched jaws and fists.

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