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Tips for a “Stress Less” Holiday Season

By Dana Yarn, RDLD Stress Less Holiday

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, there are parties, decorations, family meals, etc. the world is just a happy place. Along with all of the festivities there can be a lot of stress due to being overwhelmed with having out of town guest, preparing large holiday meals, shopping, and kids out of school, seasonal depression and hectic schedules full of school, office and family parties.  Our health priorities tend to be shifted to the back burner, as a result of making bad food choices and skipping workouts stress management can be more difficult.  Here is our survival guide to having a stress free holiday season. 

Focus on what matters.  Rather than getting caught up with the materialistic aspects of the holiday season, focus on embracing quality time with family and friends.  Watch the classic Christmas movies with family, read the classic holiday books to your kids, drink hot chocolate with loved ones and share special memories, look through old photo albums, and simply do things that will make you feel good and brush off materialistic task that you feel like you have to do because it is the holidays. 

Sleep.  Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, this will prevent the metabolism from slowing down and it will help keep hormones within normal range.  Sleep deprivation can contribute to irregular insulin levels resulting in increased carbohydrate cravings and fat storage.  Trying to avoid electronics the hour before bedtime can make it easier to fall asleep and supplementing with 1-5mg of melatonin can also increase quality of sleep. 

Stay Active.  Extra time can be limited this time of year because of a booked schedule.  Regular gym trips may not be a realistic expectation. Instead do small burst of exercise throughout the day.  5-10 sun salutations in the morning right out bed, a quick 10-20 minute walk or run around the neighborhood, pushups, planks and squats before your shower are all simple ways to keep your lean muscle and metabolism from shutting down during the holidays. 

Eat what you need before you eat what you want.  Keep your immune system strong this season and make sure you are consuming the recommended nutrients daily. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily, take a daily multi-vitamin, eat at least 6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and consume healthy omega 3 fatty acids through nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocado and cold water fish.  If the body is nourished properly there will be a reduction in cravings for sugar and junk food, making weight management easier.

Just say no. If you feel like you cannot possibly fit one more thing into your calendar and someone asks for help, just say no.  Over committing is not beneficial to anyone, feeling like there is a timer next to you all day is not healthy. Instead commit to what you can handle and enjoy the present moment. 

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