Of course the holidays are fun. But let’s be honest; faced with a dizzying array of shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, entertaining guests, and attending too many social events to count, the holiday season can also be stressful, leaving you feeling exhausted, frazzled, and under the weather!
The stress associated with the holidays is a double-edge sword. In the right dose, it can get you going and inspire you to pull together a fabulous holiday meal or find just the perfect gift for someone special. But too much stress all at once, or day after day without a break, can be overwhelming, leaving you prone to holiday melt-downs instead of merriment.
Here are a few ideas to help you manage this holiday season better so it is the happy—and healthy—time it can be!
1) Take Control of Your Schedule
Plan ahead – The next few weeks will be chock full of places to go, people to see, and things to do. This end-of-the-year sprint to the finish zaps even the heartiest among us. It can be helpful to put it all on paper and create a schedule. Book one day to complete your Christmas shopping and another day just for cooking and baking. This can increase efficiency. And be sure to complete your menus, create shopping lists and to-do lists in advance.
Just say no, occasionally - Be realistic with what you can accomplish in a day. Long lines in shopping malls and sitting in traffic jams can increase your stress and leave you short on time. Be realistic with each day’s list—and give yourself permission to take a few items off your plate. Delegate some things to your spouse or even an older child.
Be sure to build in some down time – Take some time for yourself … every day. We ALL need some down time every day. It doesn’t need to be 2 hours—even a 20 minute walk, or sitting and having a cup of tea and reading a good book for 20-30 minutes can recharge your batteries and refresh your soul!
2) Hang on to Your Healthy Habits
A little exercise can go a long way – You’ll feel so much better about indulging in that luscious pumpkin pie or holiday cocktail if you commit to doing something active every day. It’s too easy to skip your daily walk or gym routine. If the weather is bad, try making two brisk circuits around the mall before you do your shopping. Get the family out to the local ice skating rink once a week or find a YMCA or other such location to get in some laps. Exercise helps burn extra calories, helps reduce stress and can help boost your energy!
Eat healthy when you can – Of course you’ll want to sample those seasonal favorites and savor every bite of that holiday meal, but you can also try to be disciplined in filling up with the veggies (with just a smidgen of dip) from the appetizers—and while we’re talking about vegetables, be sure that you eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and/or fruits every day! On non-party days, commit to meals that are based on salads, healthy stir-fry with grilled fish or chicken. This is a great time of year to make a hearty soup full of vegetables and beans. And every morning should start out with a filling Cinch shake—there are a myriad of shake recipes available onwww.cinchclub.com.
Avoid fast foods---period! – There just isn’t a good reason to visit fast food places but plenty of good reasons to walk the extra block to find a deli that will make you a wonderful sandwich piled high with veggies on a tasty whole-grain bread choice. Your waistline will thank you!
Snack strategically – Working hard to manage your waistline all year, only to let go completely during the holidays, just doesn’t make sense. So, snack wisely! It really isn’t that hard—it just takes a bit of consciousness-raising. At parties, snack on the carrot sticks, broccoli florets and cherry tomatoes before sampling (yes, just sampling) the dessert table. Go light on the dip and sauces—or better yet, skip them and enjoy the fresh veggies and festive skewers on their own. And, if someone drops off cookies at your home, take them into the office and share them!!
Get your rest – Sleep restores the body and revives your spirits, so make sure to get enough of it—and that means 8 hours for you and 9 to 10 hours for your young children. Too little sleep just compounds the holiday stress and energy drain that can occur for so many.
Remember to take your supplements-- My Rx for a Healthier Life™ is a great foundation providing antioxidants, botanicals and probiotics to support your immune system, vitamins and minerals to round out your diet, a fantastic tasting, energizing breakfast to start your day off right and the incomparable cellular anti-aging dietary supplement, Vivix®!*
Sending warmest wishes for health and happiness,
Dr. Jamie McManus M.D. Chairman, Medical Affairs and Health Sciences Shaklee Corporation