I absolutely love the holidays and all of the special traditions and memories it brings, from sipping on homemade hot cocoa to seeing all of the beautiful lights, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year...but also one of the busiest!
The holidays can be a stressful time, from work deadlines to endless social functions to hectic holiday shopping, it can be easy to put our health (both physical and mental) on the back burner. I've rounded up twelve of my top tips to stay healthy both physically and mentally this holiday season!
1. Focus on Memorable Experiences
It's easy to get caught up with Christmas shopping and elaborate gift-giving during this time of year, but I feel more and more we all are craving memorable experiences and connections over "things". Focusing on these little moments that make for lasting memories takes some of the mental and financial pressure off of the holiday season.
2. Mindfully Enjoy the Foods You Love!
There's no reason to feel guilty for indulging in a favorite holiday treat, they are some of the joys that make the season so special! That being said, if you do have certain food allergies or dietary restrictions, don't feel pressured by anyone to eat a certain food/meal...look at it as an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and put a twist on your old favorites!
3. Plan Ahead-Meal Prep!
Whether it's hosting a holiday party or making Christmas dinner, planning ahead of time can make things less hectic! Creating a meal plan, and prepping some things in advance that can be frozen (such as chopped veggies, soups, or cookies) can take loads of pressure off of you if you're hosting!
4. Know When to Take Breaks
Whether it's a full calendar or a full house, it can be hard to make time for yourself, however it's important to know where your "limit" is so you can take needful breaks.
Whether that's going for a solo walk or finding a quiet corner, taking these little breaks will give you the chance to recharge and manage any anxiety so you can be more present at holiday events or family gatherings.
5. Be Sure to Get Plenty of Sleep!
This one may be a bit of a challenge if you are traveling for the holidays or have family and friends staying with you, but making time to get plenty of sleep is important for both your mental health and your immune system! With seasonal illnesses like colds and the flu, your body is more susceptible to getting sick if you are sleep-deprived. Do your best to get at least eight hours of sleep!
6. If You Can, Hire Help!
Some tasks can easily be hired out, whether it's hanging Christmas lights or catering an event...sometimes spending the extra money can make things run smoother and your to-do list less overwhelming, it's also a great way to support local businesses! If hiring someone isn't possible, try delegating tasks to family and friends such as doing a potluck. Most people are more than happy to contribute to a meal!
7. Focus on Your Favorite Traditions
The last few years have been challenging for us all, from work-life changing rapidly, to being unable to travel and be with loved ones, etc. having familiar traditions to turn to can be very comforting! Focus on your favorite holiday traditions this year or even embrace something new...find something that resonates with you and share it with loved ones!
8. Find Ways to Be Active
While I highly encourage taking time to rest and relax over the holidays, it can be helpful to stay active to combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and support healthy weight maintenance over the winter. Get family and friends involved to help you stay on track while also spending quality time together...you may even encourage those around you to get healthier!
9. Take Time to Be Creative
Many holiday traditions include getting creative! Studies have proven taking time to express creativity has many positive effects on our mental health...including reducing depression and anxiety. Make time to be creative this year by baking, creating your own decorations, or doing something unique with your wrapping. (I like to upcycle wrapping and use natural elements like rosemary for decorations!)
10. Support Your Immune System!
As I mentioned before getting plenty of sleep is important for your immune system, but so is taking supplements, eating nutritious foods, and keeping your environment clean. Taking time to support your immune system ensures you and your loved ones can share holiday memories...not seasonal germs!
11. Find Ways to Give Back
Express gratitude, and give back to your friends, family, and community this holiday season! Whether it's volunteering or simply making a meal, giving back to others is a wonderful way to reconnect and maybe make Christmas a little less hectic or lonely for those who have had a hard year.
12. Let Go of Perfection and Find Joy!
The holiday season isn't about being perfect or having it all together...it's about the little moments and the love that is shared! So give yourself some compassion this holiday and let go of perfectionism and instead find joy in life's simple pleasures.