So for the past two weeks, I’ve been hearing numerous stories from my clients who just started going out again to meet up with friends, host gatherings, attend Christmas parties, and how they experienced the holiday stress. Holiday stressors include buying gifts, fixing the house and preparing foods for gatherings, dealing with family matters, attending to the large volume of responsibilities at work/ meeting deadlines, financial issues, weight gain, drinking alcohol, and lack of sleep.
Here are some effective wellness strategies you can apply before Christmas in the next few days.
Manage your time and plan ahead
Parties and gatherings can stress you mentally, emotionally, and physically due to tedious preparation and lack of sleep/recovery. Plan and create the most effective schedule applicable for you at this point. Set aside time when you can breathe, relax, plan and take a moment to figure out everything in advance so you can avoid the holiday stress that can affect your health.
Replace some sedentary activities that you don’t need right now with more productive activities at home. If you can devote a couple of hours to social media or Netflix, for sure, you can devote 30 minutes to move, and you can go to bed earlier to have a productive sleep. Right now, your body needs enough rest to recover so you can have more energy to face the next day. Prioritize the most important gatherings, be with people you value the most, and learn to be more assertive and say NO to time-robbers and little get-togethers. You can always save some date nights with your friends for next year.
Take a minimalist approach to fitness
Aside from time constraints, financial issues brought about by the pandemic can stress you out. Although hybrid fitness has already started, your pre-pandemic fitness lifestyle of wearing branded workout clothes, attending daily small group classes in boutique studios, and private sessions with a personal trainer might not be realistic at this point.
You can always continue minimalist workouts like online home fitness and outdoor exercises, which are the most popular fitness trends because of safety and accessibility since the start of the pandemic. Devote at least 30 minutes of your time every day to walk or run outdoors and at least 15 minutes to do simple strength training home workouts like squats, lunges, plank, push-up, and sit-ups. Ideally, pursue your workouts early morning to avoid procrastinating when you get loaded with work and holiday errands in the afternoon.
Be flexible and prepare simple foods at home
You’ve worked hard this whole year to stay fit, healthy and manage your weight. Don’t allow stress to ruin your motivation to stay committed to your fitness goals. Believe that you are stronger now and that you can mentally endure the challenges that may come your way this holiday season. Weight gain can also be a source of stress, but having a perfectionist attitude to achieve your normal healthy eating and exercise practices can magnify your issues. Accept that there will be some changes, that there will be days that you might crave some food gifts and holiday foods that you will have with your family. It’s okay because you can always apply healthy eating strategies like portion control, choosing only the foods worth the calories, and doing your best on regular days when you can be more in control of food. Try your best to keep a food journal to be more aware of your holiday eating habits and balance everything out right away, like exercising more and eating healthier the next day.
Apply simple strategies when it comes to healthy eating at home. Start your day with a piece of toast and egg or yogurt with nuts and fruits. Holiday errands and household chores can keep you busy, so avoid hunger pangs that might happen during lunch or dinner by grabbing snacks that don’t require preparation fruits, nuts, boiled sweet potato, or boiled eggs.
For lunch and dinner, always have vegetables, and the easiest way to have vegetables for lunch or dinner is to blanch, bake, boil or steam. You can always prepare a salad with roast chicken or left-over viands like stir-fried beef or seafood.
Manage alcohol consumption
Late-night gatherings and back-to-back parties can increase alcohol consumption, especially if you will be with friends you haven’t seen for a long time. Aside from consuming extra calories from alcohol, sleep and quality might be affected. Then last night’s hangover can delay your important tasks for the next day like exercising, waking up early to prepare your healthy meals, and attending to your holiday errands like buying gifts and preparing the house for gatherings.
Try your best to prioritize the most needed sleep this holiday season. Limit the consumption of alcohol to no more than two drinks per occasion. Give yourself a curfew when it comes to attending parties. Always stay hydrated.
Take care of your mental health by staying positive
The holiday stress of all the problems you are having right now and thoughts of loved ones who died or can’t see this season can mentally and emotionally affect you.
The best thing that you can do right now is to still stay positive despite what happened, count your blessings, and do your very best to be at your healthiest for your loved ones. Don’t dwell on things you don’t have that you often see on social media, such as new clothes, cool celebrations, expensive vacations.
Focus on all the good things happening to you, like having a strong and loving family. Pray, reflect, meditate and always be grateful each day. Appreciate the best people you are with, the priceless moments you are experiencing, and knowing that you have so much love from within to give and so many things that you are still capable of doing in this world. At the same time, you are still alive and strong.
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