Each year, once the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, it signals the start of the whirlwind holiday season, and if you’re anything like us, the snowball of stress that comes with the most wonderful time of year. From meal planning to gift shopping and everything in between, the holidays can be as draining as they are fun-filled. To help you navigate the Christmas chaos and the Hanukkah hullabaloo, we’re sharing our top tips for maintaining a healthy headspace during the hectic holiday season.
Healthy Headspace Tip #1: Cut Back on Scrolling Through Social Media
While social media can be a great place to connect with friends and loved ones while sharing glimpses into your own life, it can also add a layer of stress that isn’t necessary while you’re preparing for the holidays. From curated photos of perfectly wrapped gifts to video clips of a picturesque holiday meal, social media makes it all too easy to take a deep dive down a rabbit hole of comparison. Maybe you haven’t even begun shopping for gifts (or are worried about how your 2020 budget will manage holiday spending), or perhaps your holiday meal is anything but “instagram worthy”, whatever the case may be, you’re left feeling lousy after a few minutes of social scrolling.
This year, instead of spending your spare time poking through social media, take those extra moments to do something that makes you feel good about yourself, independent of outside influence. Whether that’s texting or calling a friend or family member or plugging in your headphones and listening to your favorite holiday soundtrack, we guarantee you’ll be left feeling like you’ve got an extra pep in your step rather than like you had the wind knocked out of your sail.
Healthy Headspace Tip #2: Enjoy a Distraction-Free Meal with Your Loved Ones
It may seem like a hassle to plan regular meals together during the busy holiday season, but it can be a great way to decompress and reconnect with the ones you care about after a hectic day. Often, many of us don’t sit down to shared meals unless we’re celebrating some type of festivity or special occasion. Instead, we often find ourselves passing our loved ones like ships in the night when dinner time rolls around, and many of us find ourselves eating alone in front of a television or mindlessly munching as we scroll through our smartphones.
This holiday season, we challenge you to set some time aside each evening to get together for a meal with the ones you love. This way, you’ll stay up to date with one another on how you’re really doing, what you’re excited about, what might be worrying you, or simply just what you’ve currently been up to. We guarantee that you’ll leave each meal feeling more physically and emotionally satisfied than you would after a solo meal served with a side of screen time.
Healthy Headspace Tip #3: Set aside “Me Time” Each Day
Whether it’s taking time to go for a walk, drawing a warm bath at the end of a long day, or enjoying a cup of your favorite hot drink as you cozy up with a good book, taking some “me time” each day can do wonders for reducing stress levels and improving your mindset. Research has shown that spending some time alone to emotionally reset does wonders for our mental health. With benefits like improved productivity, increased creativity, and reduced negativity, it’s clear that giving yourself space to soak in some solitude is just what many of us need to unwind and recharge during the holiday hustle.
Healthy Headspace Tip #4: Stay Active, Even When Things Get Busy
We all know that exercise and staying active plays a huge role in keeping us physically healthy-but did you know it can also benefit our emotional and mental health? Studies have shown that exercise can improve many different aspects of our mental state, including depression, stress, anxiety, and even our mood. When we move our bodies in a way we enjoy, whether that be running, dancing, yoga, or whatever form of activity you prefer, our body begins to physically and mentally decompress.
Physical activity can help loosen tight muscles that often become tense during periods of stress, signaling to our body that we no longer feel that we’re under attack (which is often the case when we’re particularly overwhelmed). As we move through a workout, our body releases endorphins, a feel-good hormone that has an analgesic effect on our nervous system, which helps to reduce pain, inflammation, and other physical and psychological effects of stress. If you’re looking for an outlet to help relieve some pre-holiday anxiety, we recommend lacing up your sneakers or rolling out your yoga mat to fit in a sweat sesh.
We know the holiday season might feel particularly stressful this year, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, we suggest talking it out with a mental health professional or someone you know well and trust. Make a plan with a few different methods for tackling pre-holiday stress and work to implement those strategies into your daily routine. When it comes to the holidays, having a healthy headspace game plan will make all the difference in your stress levels.
This holiday season, we are sending you peace, health, and happiness and hope you can soak up all the fun and festivities this time of year has to offer while doing your best to take care of yourself in the process.