What are some ways I can enjoy the holidays more and have a less stressful holiday season?
— Amy, St. Luke’s Magic Valley
Answered by Amy Movius, St. Luke’s Employee Health, RN, BSN:
One of the best things you can do to reduce stress is to exercise. The recommended amount is 30 minutes a day, six times a week. Not everyone will be able to fit that into their schedule, but there are little things you can do to get some exercise. If you are walking from a parking lot, park further away and take those extra steps. While you’re watching holiday specials on television, walk in place during the commercials. Just marching in place can burn off a lot of calories, especially since this is the season of extra snacking.
Find a buddy you can exercise or go walking with, someone who will make you accountable this holiday season. Another benefit of exercising with a friend is the bonus of social time that you get to spend with that person — spending time with people we care about during the holidays is also a stress reliever. Or exercise with your pet; they will enjoy the exercise and pets also are great at relieving the day-to-day stresses of life.
When we have sunny days, go outside and get some sun and fresh air — it’s a great way to improve your attitude.
Take the time to do something for yourself. Maybe it’s time to read a book, get a massage, haircut, or go to coffee with a good friend.
Even if you are in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, listening to some music you enjoy can help relieve some of the extra tension we feel during this time.
Getting enough sleep, 7 to 8 hours a night, is even more important this time of year. With the extra activity it is easy to get less sleep, but when we are stressed, it is even more important to get good, quality sleep.
Enjoying holiday goodies will happen, but paying attention to healthy eating habits is especially important during the holidays. All of the extra sugar we consume can cause highs and lows in our moods, making us more stressed out. Drinking enough water continues to be important through the winter months, 6 to 8 glasses a day is best.
Be gracious to yourself. You can only do so much — so be realistic. Remember, laughter is a wonderful stress reliever. Think of something that makes you smile very day, whether it’s your family, a pet or a friend. Take a deep breath and promise yourself to slow down the holidays and remember the reason for the season.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not stop or delay seeking treatment because of something you read in this article. Further, the views or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily represent those of St. Luke’s. Reliance on any information provided by St. Luke’s, St. Luke’s employees or others supplying information for the column at the invitation of St. Luke’s is solely at your own risk.