Tis’ the season for shopping, partying, traveling and being merry, but all to often these events can become overwhelmingly stressful. So, this year approach your holi"daze” with the mindfulness of a Buddhist Monk…well, that may be extreme but following these tips may help you stay calm and healthy so you can enjoy the festivities even more.
1. Find your Zone – This holiday season check in with yourself periodically and ask where you stand on a scale of 1 (Zen-like relaxed) to 10 (Freakout mode). If you are at a level of 4-6 you are “in your zone” and will be performing at your best. If you are a 7, or higher, practice some deep breathing and ask which tasks you can delegate, or better yet, eliminate altogether. We tend to put far too much importance on ”the stuff” rather than “the people” this time of year. Everyone’s holidays will be better if you are healthy, well-rested and relaxed!
2. Serve up some Gratitude - Thanksgiving isn’t the only day to count your blessings. People who feel the most grateful have higher levels of activity in their hypothalamus, the part of the brain that influences stress levels. An attitude of gratitude is also shown to activate dopamine release which is a mood-elevating neurotransmitter.
3. Cave to a Craving– It’s been proven that carbohydrates can help calm frazzled nerves and lower the stress response. That is the whole idea of comfort food. So let yourself indulge in a healthy carbohydrate snack like an apple and some gingerbread, some popcorn, or a peppermint mocha latte. Just limit yourself and be careful not to use your stress as a license to binge.
4. Laugh it Off- Laughter is said to be the best medicine when it comes to lowering stress levels. Giggling and laughing stimulate your heart and lungs, aid in muscle relaxation and release your “feel-good” endorphins (so does exercise!). Make humor a habit and you will boost your immune system. Gather family and friends around the fire and watch a funny movie or play a silly game. Some holi”daze” favs are: Elf; Planes, Trains & Automobiles and
Holiday Charades or Pictionary.
Wishing you a healthy holiday Season!