Holiday Survival Guide: 10 Simple Ways to Have a Stress-free Holiday!
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Avena
You’ve probably seen one of the many survival guides while perusing the shelves of a bookstore or browsing online. These books address a diverse array of topics ranging from wilderness survival to tips for staying alive during a zombie apocalypse.
Did you ever wish you had a holiday survival guide?
Season of Stress
Though many agree with Andy Williams’ song that the holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year,” others may see it as a period of added stress that can result in exhaustion, weight gain, and mounting debt.
Just hearing the word “holidays” can create stress for some people. In fact, a survey by Consumer Reports found that 90 percent of Americans find at least one thing stressful about the holiday season.
To prevent seasonal stress, here are some practical ways to stay healthy and sane during the holidays…
Holiday Survival Guide: 10 Ways to Keep the Seasons Bright
- Healthy Foods
Since people tend to consume more calories during the holidays, resist the temptation to stray from your well-established diet. Before attending a gathering or party where unhealthy foods will be served, eat a healthy meal first. That way, you won’t feel hungry and will be less likely to eat foods that are high in fat and sugar.
Always make sure you have emergency rations handy to fend off a snack attack. Eating the right foods can help you have increased energy, a better mood, and more mental sharpness.
- Get Moving
Instead of wasting the holidays watching TV or playing video games, get outside for some exercise. Take a jog or long brisk walk (always test the surface before departing, as it might be icy). The CDC recommends getting 30 minutes of exercise daily, 5 days a week.
- Take a Timeout
Take time out of your day to enjoy relaxing activities, like listening to music or meditating. When you experience stress, your body releases hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline) which can tax your immune system and increase your risk of contracting the common cold and other viruses. Stress-reducing activities can have a positive effect on the immune system…and your overall well-being.
- Pet Your Pet
Spending time with your pet may promote calmness by increasing levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decreasing production of the stress hormone cortisol. Owning a pet that needs to be walked means you’ll get outside for fresh air and sunshine, which can help lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress, and perhaps even help you lose weight.
- Delegate While You Celebrate
Enlist the help of others when tackling your “to do” list. Spending time with friends and family while you share tasks – like preparing the holiday meal, shopping, cleaning, and decorating – can be an enjoyable time of bonding.
Don’t try to be the holiday hero. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Learning how to delegate while you celebrate can help you stay sane during the hectic holiday season.
- Practice Gratitude
According to a recent study, practicing gratitude causes changes in your brain that can make you feel better. People who express gratitude on a regular basis tend to be healthier, more optimistic, may make more progress toward their goals, and have a greater sense of well-being.
Take some time to jot down five things you’re grateful for every day. Then experience the joy that gratitude can bring.
- Hydrate, Don’t Inebriate
Drinking water is key not only to brain function but to whole-body health. Every system in the body needs adequate hydration to function properly. Water helps to cleanse the body and remove toxins, including germs.
Also, be mindful of your alcohol consumption during the holidays. If you’re invited to a meal or party where you know alcohol will be served, consider bringing your own non-alcoholic beverage. This will help ensure that you don’t drink, or drink too much, at the gathering.
The holidays are usually a time when everyone is focused on their families and friends. However, it’s also a wonderful time to focus on giving to others in need.
Volunteering not only helps alleviate stress, it also can increase health and happiness. Making a difference by assisting others may produce feelings of satisfaction and joy.
Some ideas: shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway, donate clothes or blankets to a shelter, work a few shifts at the local food bank, sponsor a wild animal through wildlife rescue, or donate a few gifts to a charity for children and families.
- Quality Nutrition
Due to shorter days and colder weather, lifestyle changes can be difficult to implement during the winter season. However, this is a crucial time of year to focus on staying healthy. To provide natural protection for your immune system, it’s important to create healthy habits for overall well-being.
One of the best ways to support your immunity during cold and flu season is with high-quality vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Developing a supplement routine to complement your healthy diet can help you achieve winter wellness.
- Just Say No
The holidays can make people feel out of control and at the mercy of tradition or expectations. The key is to take control over the holidays, rather than allowing them to take control you.
Say “no” to events and activities that aren’t important to you. If what you’re doing is causing holiday stress, it’s time to do something different.
It’s been said that the holidays bring out the best and worst in people. When it comes to the latter, you don’t have to let someone else ruin your holiday.
Applying the tips in this holiday survival guide can help ensure that everyone in your family enjoys a fun-filled, stress-free holiday.
The BrainMD team wishes you and yours a safe, healthy, and happy Holiday Season!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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