Society tells us we’re supposed to be excited and feel some holiday magic this time of year. In reality, this time of year can cause stress, depression, anxiety, and weight gain, making it a tough couple of months for both your mind and your body.
Staying well and fit may seem a greater challenge than hosting parties and buying a gift for that impossible person on your list. But you can maintain a healthy self through the new year with a few steps.
- Many people gain one pound each year at this time. If you continue that trend, you’ll be overweight in a few years. Yet November and December are a difficult time to start a weight loss regimen. Instead, focus on maintaining your current weight. You’ll feel less pressure and can enjoy the holiday spirit (and a spirit or two!) instead of grumbling like a Grinch when your coworker brings in treats for the second week in a row.
- Of course, eating right isn’t easy when every party offers plates of sugary treats, cheesy nibbles, and meat bites. Instead of trying to resist it all, try loading up your plate with the vegetable snacks first. After you have had several of those, you’re less likely to eat as much of the rest.
- When the weather outside is frightful, leaving your warm bed in the dark to jog or go to the gym is more difficult. But keeping up your exercise routine will help maintain your weight during bouts of extra eating and will make you feel better overall. Many find it helpful to check the weather report the night before and have a plan in mind. For example, if you know it’s going to rain, you can plan to work out with an exercise DVD instead of jogging. Or, simply by knowing what you’ll face, you can tell yourself, “I’m going to go to the gym anyway.”
- Extra social occasions and a bigger to-do list make it tempting to skip the after-work hour at the gym. Try moving your regular routine to your lunch break or to the morning on those days. You can also put your exercise time on your calendar just like any appointment, or arrange to meet a friend there for an added commitment.
- Be sure to record your progress and your weight each week so you can see the effect the holiday is having. You’ll be more likely to push away from that cupcake if you realize it’s hurting your goals.
- Finally, get the family outside for some group exercise. A family walk or active game is a fun way to spend time and keep moving.
- The holidays are known for dangers to your waistline, but they can be just as hazardous to your mental health. If you feel anxiety, sadness, or uneasiness this time of year, you’re not alone. The holiday blues can even manifest themselves physically, causing headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, and intestinal problems.
- Exercise is one of the key ingredients to good mental health as well as physical, so start by taking note of the body tips above. Yoga, walking, and spiritual practices may also help you get in touch with what’s important this season.
- Still, keeping up your spirit while shopping in a crowded mall, driving through extra traffic, or being away from your family or loved ones isn’t easy.
- Start by giving yourself a break. Some people feel worse during the holidays because there is pressure to feel happy. The holidays don’t automatically take away any current feelings you’re experiencing and they are never going to produce the same feelings you had as a child. Don’t let expectations ruin your chance for happiness.
- Next, don’t overload your schedule. Exhaustion isn’t going to improve your mood. There is always too much to do, so choose your crucial plans and tasks and stick to that list. However, if you are feeling underbooked, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or with groups that help hospitalized children. Community service is a wonderful way to lift your spirit.
- Finally, watch the alcohol intake. Alcohol is a depressant, and a hangover is definitely not going to lift your spirits.
If you find yourself feeling blue this holiday season, contact us for help.