Ah, the holidays. Family, friends, and fancy foods. Parties and presents. Tempting treats and twinkling lights. Shopping. Spending. Splurging. Stress.
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” ~ Sydney J. Harris
Stress can take its toll on us in many ways – physically, emotionally and mentally. During the holidays, when you may feel like you don’t have time to slow down, is usually when you need to do so the most!
Downtime is essential for taking care of you. Not only do you deserve it, but when you’re feeling rested and recharged, you can accomplish more and take care of others better too.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” ~ Winnie the Pooh
Doing something you love every day, no matter how small, will keep you rocking and rolling, getting things done and keeping the holiday stress monster at bay.
“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.” ~ Viggo Mortensen
25+ Ways to Take Care of You
- Let go of perfectionism; things don’t need to be perfect to be awesome
- At the end of each day dump your brain of details so you can relax; write down a list of things you want to get done tomorrow or put it on your calendar
- Take time to prioritize your day each morning with the top 2 -3 things you want to get done that day
- Schedule tasks/appointments and events as evenly as possible throughout the week
- Reduce time on the computer and TV
- Practice mindful breathing to refocus your mind back to the present
- Eat slower and savor your meals
- Connect with family and friends
- Take a vacation (or ‘staycation’)
- Ask for help
- Make time for yourself by scheduling in your hobby or favorite activity
- Read a book or watch a movie
- Speak to yourself more kindly
- Practice gratitude
- Listen to music
- Open your windows and blinds during the day
- Spend time each day on your goals and aspirations
- Enjoy a hot bath
- Meditate, pray and/or do yoga
- Get a massage or facial
- Go for a walk outside
- Focus on the positives
- Keep a journal
- Just say no – Avoid overeating and overspending during the holidays
- Get Enough Sleep – This is a biggie!
You’re not alone. As many as 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation! We go through the day tired and worn out due to insufficient sleep and fail to catch up. You probably know you need enough sleep, but did you know:
“Inadequate slumber over extended periods of time also may interfere with immune function, including the proper production of white cells and hormonal regulation, which is why insufficient sleep is linked with chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This also leads to impaired immunity and elevated levels of hormones such as insulin, increasing the risk of gaining body fat (most often in the midsection) and of developing systemic inflammation and type 2 diabetes. It also leads to changes in the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate hunger and satiety.” ~ David Katz, M.D. from the book, “Disease-Proof.”
Lack of sleep results in a lack of energy and lack of motivation – the motivation to exercise, eat right, shop responsibly, and focus on healthier habits. As you’ve probably experienced, everything seems more difficult when you feel tired and worn out. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Making small changes can add up. You don’t need to change everything at once, but consistency is important.
When you make ‘getting more sleep’ a priority, you may finally see some changes. It can take 2-3 weeks until something may start to work for you, so don’t give up if you aren’t seeing results after a day or 2 of trying these tips. It may just take some time for your body to adjust.
Start with setting an intention for when you want to be in bed. Want 8 hours of sleep and need to be awake by 6:30 am, then plan to be ready for rest by 10:30 pm; which means you’ll want to start getting ready for bed by 10:00 pm.
Tips to help improve your sleep:
For many people, just by eating healthier, they find they start sleeping better. Add exercise to the mix and it can help even more.
- Eliminate/reduce caffeine and alcohol (these increase urination and can cause restless sleep)
- Don’t have chocolate (or caffeine) within 7-8 hours of bedtime
- Turn off electronic devices 1-2 hours before bed
- Finish dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime
- Drink a calming tea like Organic Chamomile in the evening
- Sleep in a totally dark room (all sources of light off) or wear eye covers
- Set your bedroom at a comfortable temperature
- Exercise in the morning, afternoon or early evening (not late at night)
- Take a soothing hot bath at night
- Listen to soft music before bed to help wind down
- Use relaxing breathing techniques or meditation
- White noise at bedtime – a fountain or fan
- Relax and read before bed
- Perform Yoga, Tai Chi or stretching at night to de-stress
Better sleep will aid you in handling stress during the holidays and any time of year. If these simple solutions don’t work for you, be sure to check with your doctor to see if they can find a root cause of your sleeplessness.
Your turn! Let us know in the comments if you’ve any tips to add for handling holiday stress or improving your sleep.