Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s parties–they’re all around the corner now, which means that you’re about to have a great time. But the holiday season is also a bit stressful, what with all the gifts you have to buy and journeys you might be planning. And for some of us, seeing the family can be stressful, too. And overeating’s a danger, especially at Thanksgiving potlucks. That’s why, when the holiday season comes around, it’s easy to lost track of your health. That means not feeling your best during these busy months and feeling guilty when you’re putting together your resolutions for 2019.
But if you take it one day at a time, and focus on the right goals, you can stay healthy even during this busy time. It’s all about knowing what strategies work best–and here’s how to do it.
Plan time just for you
When thinking about the holiday season, a lot of us think about how important it is to give to others. But when all you’re doing is thinking about how you’re going to afford that flight to your parents’ house for Christmas or all the different stores you have to stop into to find that perfect gift for your sister, it can get overwhelming to think about others. Sometimes, you have to give to yourself, too.
So plan a weekend off where you don’t think about the holidays at all. Maybe right after Thanksgiving, so that you have a bit of a break between the two holidays? Choose something you love to do, whether that’s going for a hike or going to a spa with your friends. There’s a reason why the US market for health and wellness reached around $167 billion in 2017, and that’s because people are finally realizing how important this is, no matter how busy they are.
Get your exercise
We know that it’s hard to make time for exercise. Especially if you’re a parent or busy with work, it can be hard to schedule the recommended three to five times a week you should be working out. But the fact is, exercising is not only good for you, but it also will improve other elements of your life. Busy entrepreneurs like Tom Zaccagnino rely on exercise to stay focused in the office and keep their dopamine levels up. If you want to feel good about yourself, and not get too burnt out when you’re running around buying gifts for family and friends, exercise is key.
And luckily, there are lots of creative ways to get exercise that won’t take too much time out of your calendar. In the same way that tools like Social Gone Viral make it easier for companies to manage social media, using an app like ClassPass will make it easier for you to schedule classes on the fly, varying time and location. Especially if you’ve got lots of work meetings or travel responsibilities, this can make a huge difference. Additionally, check out 20-minute exercises you can do during your lunch break–and think about waking up half an hour earlier to get in that morning jog.
Considering that more than two-thirds of Americans are reported as being overweight, and half of those as obese, it’s not a bad idea to get some exercise in when you’re drinking and dining in these busy months.
Make time for emotional health
Something else that’s easily forgotten during the holiday season is emotional health. But depression tends to increase during the holidays, and if you already have some mental illness, “the holidays can leave a person dealing with depression with increased feelings of sadness, guilt, inadequacy, overwhelm, alienation, and unworthiness.” If you need to take a step back because you’re feeling lots of anxiety or sadness, do it. If you need to talk to your friends and family but think they might not understand, think about writing down your feelings down first before you speak to them.
Of course, if you think you’re suffering from actual mental illness, you should start seeing a professional to talk about your feelings. They may get you the medication you need, or at least give you an unbiased ear to talk to–which might be a rarity in your life if you have a family that doesn’t deal with emotions well. If you don’t have much time to meet with a therapist in person, think about using a service like Talkspace or BetterHelp to talk to someone online.
These are some of the best ways to stay healthy during the holiday season. It’s a busy, stressful time, but you have to remember to take care of yourself, too.
What other strategies do you use to stay healthy during the holidays?