Whole Body Wellness & The Holiday Season

We recently covered 10 Habits for Whole Body Wellness — but how does achieving this look during the holidays? We’re not going to lie to you (or maybe you know already) it can be even tougher. Visiting family, not visiting family, struggling with traditions, disagreements, and any other “life stuff” can seem harder during this season. But, don’t worry, you aren’t alone and there are some things you can do.

Feeling extra stressed during the holidays is normal

Unfortunately, additional stress or feelings of depression are common during the holidays, even normal. We all seem to want things we can’t have — and then our relatives provide opinions about why we don’t have them. It’s the perfect storm. Not to mention, less sunlight and colder temperatures can have you wanting to just curl up and hibernate for a few months. That doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions.

What you can do about it

Tackling whole body wellness this holiday season is best achieved by caring for yourself first. Caring for others is a big part of it, too, but there’s often a balancing act to this. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should try to address your feelings honestly, reach out to others when needed, and plan ahead — especially if you’re prone to stress. It can also work wonders if you set budgets for gifts or festivities and be more realistic about what you can and can’t accomplish.

Furthermore, being mindful about what you put in your body, how you move your body, and what you think about yourself can go a long way. There’s nothing better than practicing the best self-care you can. You may improve how you do so by sticking to therapy or just surrounding yourself with people you love — if only virtually. Some vitamins may also help mental health.

Tips for mental health over the holidays

Mental health issues can sometimes worsen with the pressure of the holidays. Your celebrations and gatherings may look different each year, but that may not spare you from internal or external factors that make who we are or what we have feel like not enough.

Give yourself (and others) a break

Everyone wants to be healthy and happy, love their job, be successful, have a stable family or home life as well as be in a great relationship. Unfortunately, not all of this may be possible all at once. Be patient and gentle with yourself as well as your loved ones. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt that they’re trying their best. And if not, you can work on getting better, together. If anyone tries to suggest you should be somewhere else in your life, remember this: You can’t get where you’re going without being where you are right now.

Holiday self-care tips

Much of this work to “get better” may begin alone or from within. Remember that self-care we talked about? The holidays are an important time as ever to schedule regular “me time,” that’s unflinching. If your schedule is pressed, try to work in at least an hour or even just 30 minutes each day that is dedicated to just you.

Do something calming that you enjoy. Go for a walk, listen to music, run a bath, read, do yoga — anything that helps you shut out any negativity and brings you back to center. Taking this time during your day can also help you sleep better at night. Which, as you may know, poor sleep can lead to a host of other issues.

Tips for physical wellness over the holidays

The holidays are also often synonymous with overeating and relaxing. While you can definitely do either of these in moderation, there is too much of a good thing. Here’s some advice for both your diet and exercise routine for whole body wellness.

Mindful eating (and treat eating)

We understand — stress-eating may get extra indulgent and extra easy to do. Spending more time at home or even seeing close friends or family will likely change your typical menu options up a bit. Whether it’s comfort food or more accomplices enabling large takeout orders, it may not be easy to look and feel your best.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself over the holidays — in fact, it’s the time of year that many of us give ourselves a break from perfect eating. That being said, do what you can to mix in some balanced, wholesome meals in between all that fun. You’ll be more thankful for it than you know.

When loading your plate up at the start of a big meal, go heavy on vegetables or lighter side items, especially on your first pass. You can definitely have seconds — we’re not stopping you — but increasing your veggie intake can only do you good. You’ll likely be full quicker, and more indulgent items will taste that much better. After all, vegetables are rich in vitamins that can boost your immune system and even fight the flu.

‘Tis the season for moving

The holidays are also a great time to cash in some PTO and get back on track with your exercise goals. Cooler weather can also allow for more pleasant strolls, jogs, and games of catch outdoors — or maybe just a boost to your calorie-burning if it’s chilly. Your dogs (or granddogs) will also love an additional walk around the neighborhood during a sunny or warm time of day.

That being said, if the weather gets rough, try to set aside a few minutes per day to establish a stretching routine if you don’t have one already. Do a few extra squats before bed or just work in a plank. And, if 2020 has proved anything, it’s that you can get an effective workout anywhere with some creativity.

Just “be” this holiday season

We say them no matter what — “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” “Happy Hanukkah” — and this puts pressure on these times to in fact be “merry” or “happy.” Again, don’t feel bad for just being present and being realistic about your expectations of yourself and others. You’ll get there, just take your time.

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