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  • Amy Salman, Founder, The Wellness Map

7 Tips To Stress Less Over the Holidays

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

The holiday season tends to bring up various emotions, including feelings of excitement, stress, and anxiety. There's an abundance of festive parties, holiday dinners, family obligations, and too much work!

So what are some ways to enjoy the holiday season while staying sane and healthy? Here are 7 tips to help you manage your health without losing your mind!

1). Self-Care--It's really important to create balance by making time for self-care practices. We're in such a constant state of doing, we forget about the state of being. I personally love to begin my morning with meditation and gratitude. It helps set the tone for the day. The many benefits of a daily meditation practice include improved immunity, heart health, mood, sleep, digestion, and focus, and reduced stress and anxiety. Work your way up to 20 minutes daily, but you can start with just 2-5 minutes. Add an additional minute until you reach 20. Don't worry if you're doing it right or wrong, there's no such thing. Just sit comfortably, upright, in a chair or the floor, and simply begin to breathe. Focus on your breath, and when your mind wanders, which it will, simply come back to your breath.

2). Exercise--Exercise is the most underutilized anti-depressant. It promotes the release of hormones that improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. A minimum of thirty minutes a day is ideal. It may include walking, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, yoga, dancing, cleaning the house, etc. It all counts, just move your body!

3). Do Skip Breakfast--What?? Yes, you heard me correctly. If you are eating too much, and especially late at night, then eating again early in the morning, it is a good idea to prolong your eating time first thing to allow the body ample time to rest and digest. So, consider having your first meal, or break-the-fast a bit later than usual. If you usually eat at 8 or 9am, eat at 12pm. You would want to allow around 16 hours for the body to properly digest and process all the food you've been eating.

4). Mindful Mouthfuls--Be mindful when eating. Food is generally chewed 2-3x and washed down with liquids. Try chewing your food 20-30x or until it is liquefied. The more thoroughly it is chewed the better the digestive process will function, but it will vary depending on what you're eating. Eggs and fish will take fewer chews, but raw kale may take up to 45. Consider "30" a good number as a way toward slowing down your chewing. The more mindful you are of chewing helps to slow down how quickly you're eating. Research shows that eating slowly helps you to eat less. And eating less can result in weight loss. For example, slowing down gives you the chance to tune into your body and actual hunger and satiety cues. This active mindfulness can decrease your risk of overeating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that you're full, so people report feeling fuller when they slowed down while eating. Chewing your food more slowly helps control your portion sizes, which naturally decreases calorie consumption.

5). Stay Hydrated--Water....the forgotten nutrient. Despite the health benefits, most people do not get the recommended daily amount of fluids. Recommendations vary depending on your health, activity levels, and how hot the climate is, but I suggest checking the color of your urine and making sure it is a pale color yellow. If not, drink more. Either way, water is essential for good health. It helps fight fatigue and headaches, increases energy, flushes impurities and toxins, aids in weight loss, plumps skin and helps with acne, and improves mood. Start with 2 glasses first thing in the morning, and have 2 glasses 15 minutes prior to meals. Don’t like water? Add fruit like lemon, lime, orange, kiwi, or try seltzer water.

6). Have an Attitude of Gratitude--Is it possible that being grateful or not can affect your health? According to Gulf Breeze Recovery, psychologists have published numerous studies on the subject of gratefulness. "One had a group of people list just 5 things they were grateful for every day, another group was asked to list 5 complaints every day, and a third group served as a control by doing neither. Physical health symptoms, as well as emotional surveys, were completed before, during and after the experiment, and the results were telling. The group who listed complaints in their life reported more symptoms of pain, headache, frustration, and irritation with their life while the grateful group not only reported fewer symptoms than the complaint group, they even reported improvement in physical conditions they had before the study. There were even benefits that seem surprising: reports of less nausea, acne, and even coughing!"

Some simple ways to incorporate gratitude into your day might be saying 3 things you're grateful for every morning and writing down 3 things that went well in your day and why before bed.

7). Give Yourself A Break--If you overdo it, please don't beat yourself up! Simply get back on track. It's the holidays and everyone is trying to manage extra temptations, busy schedules, and stress. Be kind to yourself and others and practice compassion. If weight loss is one of your goals and not in the cards for you during the holidays, focus on weight maintenance, and do your personal best. Take it easy and enjoy!

I hope you found these tips helpful. Now, I'd love to hear from you. How do you manage stress and stay healthy this time of year?

GET EVEN HEALTHIER! Would you like more help learning how to manage stress and your health? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule a consultation with me today——or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

To your health & happiness,


© The Wellness Map

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