It’s Christmas Eve. Everyone is bound to feel a little stressed. Holidays always stress me out too. When I get stressed, I sometimes forget the basics. So, at the risk of being Captain Obvious, I decided to share some of my holiday survival tips:
1) Hydrate. I can’t stress this enough. Bad things happen when I forget to drink water. I am prone to headaches. I get light-headed. It makes me tired and cranky. Often times I confuse dehydration with hunger, which means I overeat. So here’s a reminder for all of us: Drink water. Lots of it. Start now. Eight glasses is the minimum. More if you exercise, which is a good segue to #2...
2) Exercise. I know you’re busy. We all are. There is no time. Yes, there is. Walk, hike or run. Just move your muscles for 15-20 minutes. It doesn’t matter what it is. If walking, hiking or running is not your thing, then stretch, lift weights, ride a bike, or play a sport you love. As the saying goes, Just Do It.
3) Breathe. There is breathing and then there is breathing. Technically, if you are reading this you must be breathing. But then there is breathing. I tend to hold my breath a lot. Not sure why I do that, just a bad habit. Holding your breath makes your muscles tight, and like dehydration, can cause headaches and a whole host of other maladies. If you find yourself feeling stressed, stop and just focus on your breath. Close your eyes for one minute and just observe your breath going in your nose and out your mouth. Believe it or not, this is a mini-vacation for your body. Do it as often as needed. But not while driving… because you shouldn’t close your eyes when you are driving.
4) Time out. I like to mediate, but if that’s not your thing, then just take a few minutes for yourself. I highly recommend taking a 15-20 minute break from all stimulation: Lie down. Take a hot bath. Or just lock yourself in the bathroom and flip through your favorite magazine. Sometimes just taking a break can give you a whole new wave of energy and a better attitude.
5) Music. Turn it on! In your car. In your house. On your phone. With or without your headphones. It doesn’t have to be Christmas music… just something that puts YOU in a good mood. This helps with everything: wrapping gifts, cooking, cleaning… even traffic.
6) Eating. Everybody struggles with eating too much over the holidays and spending the next six months trying to lose the weight they gained. I know I did last year. So my recommendation is to try and make good choices BEFORE the parties. Never go to a party famished. If you know you are going to a party with lots of delicious treats, try and eat small balanced meals before you go… and drink lots of water. The water will prevent you from over-eating and might even prevent a hangover, if you are inclined to drink too.
7) Ask for a hug. It’s a great stress reliever and someone may need one too.
8) Donate. Find a charity that means something to you and give. It can be anything: money, food, old clothes or even old towels to an animal shelter. Cleaning out a closet is one of my favorite stress relievers and there are a lot of people who could use those things that you are just tired of looking at.
9) Count Your Blessings. This was one of my dad’s favorite sayings. In his memory, I try and do this every day. Gratitude is the best attitude for any occasion.
10) Let go of perfection. Invariably, we will not please everyone. So let’s just try and remember to be our best selves. Isn’t that the best gift we can give others anyway?