Well, here we go already! I think practicing gratitude on a regular basis is good for your mental health and, with Thanksgiving here this week, now is a good time to double up (chanting to yourself over and over what you’re grateful for). Depending on your circumstances, the holidays can trigger a variety of emotions. Memories from years past, stress about “to-do” lists, concerns about encountering family members you may prefer to avoid, etc. etc. Here are a few tips to begin managing the stress that may come with the season:
1. Don’t be trapped by tradition. If you find yourself dreading the holiday season, you may want to consider doing something different this year for your own well-being. Reclaiming the peace and joy – that the holidays are meant to bring – is worth the discomfort of change.
2. Be aware of your intentions. Do you truly enjoy the process of entertaining? Most people will enjoy being around you if you are enjoying yourself. If you’re trying too hard to please or impress others, you and everyone else will likely be disappointed and feeling empty.
3. If you’re alone for the holidays, you may want to volunteer at a shelter or reach out to a community of caring people. If you’re alone by choice, don’t feel pressured to socialize if you truly don’t want to. But also consider that sometimes, when you step outside your comfort zone, you may find yourself enjoying it. Give yourself an out so you can leave if it doesn’t turn out to be a good situation for you.
4. Watch out for all the sugar! I know, I know, it’s the holidays, yet it’s more important than ever to be cautious, since sugar can throw your mood out of whack with the glycemic ups and downs in your bloodstream. Make sure you’re getting protein every 2 – 3 hours to feed your neurotransmitters and keep your blood sugar in balance to prevent sugar cravings. Try experimenting with different types of sweeteners like stevia and xylitol that are low glycemic. Artificial sweeteners are NOT good substitutes. When a recipe calls for sugar, you can actually cut the amount in half and still enjoy your dessert (this is what they do in French bakeries).
5. Remember to appeal to your five senses for uplifting or calming your mood. Think pine needles, cinnamon spice, vanilla, chocolate, peppermint, citrus, candle flames, fire places, colored lights, unique decorations, fuzzy slippers and robes, warm baths, lotions, and, of course, don’t forget music!
What are your plans for the holiday season?
- Having a Healthy, Stress-Free Holiday Season – Introduction (lovelifenfood.com)
- Tips to Cope with Holiday Stress (dangerouslee.biz)
- 8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives During the Holiday Season (toddlohenry.com)