It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and also the most stressful. The holiday season brings with it special challenges, from travel, to shopping for gifts, to hearing holiday songs at every turn, to making New Year’s Eve plans. Here are some ideas for keeping stress and anxiety in check this December.
It’s sometimes hard to keep a healthy diet when you’re bombarded with candy canes and chocolates at countless events. Indulge here and there, but make sure not to overdo it. If you’re concerned about diving into a fruitcake head-first, consider eating a high-protein, high-fiber meal before heading out to events where you know fatty, sweet foods will be lurking, waiting to lure you into anxiety-causing weight gain.
Take a moment to reflect
Have you thought about starting a meditation practice in 2017? Start early – the holidays are a perfect opportunity to spend some time with your thoughts. Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood and alertness. There are many useful meditation resources, from meditation apps to meditation centers like The Path. But all you need to get started is a pillow and a timer.
When you’re not feeling your best, it can be helpful to give to others. The holiday season is a great time to volunteer (though keep in mind that nonprofit organizations need volunteers all year round). Do what works for you – volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating coats for a coat drive, or helping a nonprofit with marketing, design, or administrative duties.
Get a massage
Anxiety has significant physical effects, and can manifest itself as a headache, back ache, or insomnia. Massage gets at the root of anxiety-caused ailments. Massage health benefits include a better immune system, improved mood, and lowered blood pressure. Perfect for an anxious December.
Get more sleep
Sleep isn’t a cure-all, but it’s close. Over a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep – 7 hours is the recommended minimum. Sleep deprivation doesn’t just make you tired, it also makes you more anxious, cranky, forgetful, and prone to depression. Get your zzzs – steps that can help include skipping big meals and alcohol at bedtime, removing phones and computers from your bedroom, and getting a Zeel Massage at home at night.