The whirlwind of the holiday season brings twinkling lights, time with friends and family, special meals, shopping for the perfect gift for all your loved ones and a packed calendar of events –– or, at least, that’s the expectation many of us have for the holidays. While this season can bring much warmth and joy, it can also evoke feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety due to high expectations, financial stress and busy calendars.
In a recent lecture in our Thrive Series, Health Promotion Specialist Ashley Ganger, RN, spoke about taking the time to care for yourself during the holidays. While the “holiday blues” are a real phenomenon, there are many ways you can take control of your mental, emotional and physical well-being during this time of year. With a little planning and daily routines, the holiday season can truly be the most wonderful time of the year.
Plan healthy habits
- Soak up the sun. Get out and enjoy the sunshine! Aim for 20 minutes of natural sunlight every day to help keep your vitamin D levels in check. Bundle up and go for a walk outside to help release endorphins, which also help to keep the blues at bay.
- Plan refills ahead. Take all prescription medications on time. Don’t forget to call in for refills before the holidays if you need them.
- Commit to quiet. Commit to a daily quiet time. Nap, read or do whatever it is that helps you feel relaxed and refreshed. Spend at least 15 minutes taking this time to recollect your thoughts and goals for the day.
- Get plenty of sleep. Though you may be busy, make sure to get a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Eat well. Eat a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you are less likely to overindulge.
- Practice letting go. Families grow and change, some traditions may also come and go. Hold on to what is important while also considering how that aligns with your present reality. For example, invite anyone who can meet on the actual holiday, but schedule the large family get together on another day when all can be present.
- Volunteer. If you don’t have family or friends close by, find a place to volunteer. It’s hard to feel down when you are helping others.
- Give experiences. Don’t get caught up in the consumerism. Sure, we all like stuff, but consider alternative gift ideas. Give gifts of time or experiences like watching a special program together, going ice skating, cooking or eating a favorite family recipe together.
- Focus on what is most important. Everything does not have to be perfect to be well enjoyed. A few lights might burn out on the tree and the wreath might not make it to the front door. Focus on the traditions that are most important to you and do those first.
- Learn to say no. It’s hard, but it will be okay. Suggest another time to catch up with a friend or family member if your plate is too full right now.
Count your blessings
- Practice gratitude. If you feel gratitude for something or someone, write it down or let the person know. Practicing gratitude can ease stress, positively affect relationships and lead to better overall health.
- Show some love. Most of us feel many feelings of gratitude during the day but don’t take the few moments that it takes to acknowledge it. Let’s start! Challenge yourself to recognize one person every day.
Are you interested in learning more about how to optimize your health? Join us for our monthly
Thrive series *February 5th, 2019 at a new time, 11:00 a.m. to noon. Meetings will be held at Greencroft Community Center at 1820 Greencroft Blvd in Goshen. For more information on upcoming meetings, please visit GoshenHealth.com/THRIVE or call (574) 364-2496.
*Please note there will not be a January meeting.
Posted: 12/26/2018 by