By Divya Denduluri, Health Gap Intern
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and yet a lot of Americans feel stressed out or anxious as the holidays approach. While it’s a time for family, friends, togetherness, and gratitude, a lack of time or resources may be too much to handle – apart from the rigors of everyday life.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “holiday blues” can have a serious though temporary effect on our mood, and can be due to various factors, including unrealistic expectations, sentimental memories that accompany the season, feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss, seasonal factors such as, less sunlight, changes in diet or routine, alcohol at parties, over-commercialization or the inability to be with friends or family.
Here are some ways to beat the stress this holiday season:
- Mindful eating practices may help reduce anxiety associated with the holidays and weight gain. The relationship between food and anxiety is cyclical – we tend to stress about eating and drinking too much during the holidays, and the stress of the holidays may have us seeking comfort in food and drink. This holiday season, let’s mindfully enjoy our food and drink. Stay tuned for our next blog topic focusing on mindful eating practices!
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude to add some positive vibes. Make a list of all the people and things you are thankful for, as a reminder. Volunteering can help us feel grateful for what we have, while also helping make a difference.
- Sprinkle in opportunities to be active. Try some winter sports to jazz things up, or schedule in a quick walk or workout before you head to the next party.
- Cherish your time with loved ones. Connect with family and friends you enjoy spending time with.
- Plan ahead and make lists and set a budget to keep your thoughts organized, but don’t forget to enjoy each day and savor the moment.
- Eat to boost your mood. Research shows that chronic inflammation has been linked to depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and plant-based oils like olive oil will help reduce inflammation, and may improve mood and the overall quality of life.
- Added bonus: Fruits and vegetables add flavor, color, and nutrients to holiday favorites, and help you feel fuller longer to resist the temptation to overeat.
Remember to make your wellbeing a priority this season and Relax! Here’s wishing you a very jolly holiday!