The holiday season can be beautiful, from the lights twinkling around the city to the time spent with loved ones. However, it can also bring a lot of extra stress. Traveling, a full social calendar, the hustle and bustle of shopping for the perfect gift or stocking up on groceries for when the guests arrive are all pieces of the holiday season that can suddenly become overwhelming. We’ve talked about keeping your physical health on track during the holidays, but your mental health is important, too! If we aren’t careful, our stress can detract from the joy of the holidays and derail our overall wellness.
When it comes to shopping for gifts, a few simple rules can help keep the holiday stress at bay. First and foremost, it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. While it can be tempting to splurge here and there on our loved ones, it always ends up adding to the financial stress we feel during the holidays. Know your spending limits and remind yourself that the intention behind giving gifts is what matters most.
As your schedule begins to fill up, remember that it’s important to stick to your healthy habits and routines. When the table fills with delicious food at family gatherings, fight off the temptation to overeat by enjoying a healthy snack before the meal. Be sure to include your regular physical activity in your schedule. Passing on the gym too many times to spend time with loved ones may feel like the best choice, but sometimes it can make your body feel worse in the long run and even lead to your wellness journey taking a few steps backward. Instead of skipping, invite a family member to join you for your favorite group exercise class with a YMCA Day Pass. Traveling out of town for the holidays? Great news: your YMCA Membership allows you to visit participating YMCA locations across the country.
Don’t forget to build in time for yoga, meditation, or deep-breathing exercises when the stress seems to be mounting. A little bit of time dedicated to your mental wellbeing can help your body feel better, too. Lowering your stress levels is also important for your sleep schedule. Stick to your nightly routines before bed and make sure you get plenty of quality sleep during the holidays. Staying out late once or twice won’t be detrimental, but consistently losing an hour or two of sleep will prevent your body from getting the recovery it needs to keep you active and healthy.
Another important step to keeping your holiday stress under control is to be realistic. By acknowledging your feelings, you allow yourself to embrace the reality of being human. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holidays. Check in with yourself and take the time to be mindful of your emotions. It’s okay to be sad or anxious during the holidays, and by allowing these emotions to exist, you’re creating a space for yourself. Forcing yourself to try and be happy only adds to the stress of the holidays.
Need more tips for how to stay fit and active during the holidays? Check out our Holiday Temptation Tips blog post!
Written by Laura Wolf, [email protected]