Are you counting the shopping days left until Christmas? The Walmart Superstores in Willow Grove and Levittown are open 24 hours a day. Are you focused on regrets about money spent or blowing your December budget? If so, you are not alone. Relationships, finances, demands. These stresses are part of the season, and are big contributors to eating disorder symptoms. It’s important to stop and think about how to have a healthier, low stress holiday. These tips can help you assess the real meaning of the season, and encourage a relaxed holiday:
1. Assess what’s really important for the holiday. Is it spending time with people we love, having a chance to step back and enjoy the peace of the winter, or something else? Make that a priority. Chances are what’s really important is not shopping to the point of exhaustion or spending beyond comfort levels. Ditch the things that are low on your priority list, and this includes seeing people that may upset you, even if it is Christmas.
2. Simplify. The demands of the season can be endless, and much of our stress comes from trying to juggle too many things. It’s ok to say “no.” Put off demands that you know will be too taxing or those that you simply don’t want to do.
3. Healthy eating and exercise. The holidays present numerous opportunities to overindulge. Unfortunately many sugary foods zap energy, and leave you sluggish and out of sorts. It’s important to keep up with eating frequent, small meals, no restricting. Choose healthy foods that make you feel good. Remember, it’s not necessary to try everything on the buffet line. It also helps to focus on gentle exercise, such as walking or stretching, which also helps combat the blahs.
4. Be realistic. There’s no need to become Ward or June during the holidays (or anytime for that matter). Sometimes, unlike June, we overcook the turkey or can’t find the “perfect” gift. This is a time to set reasonable expectations for ourselves and others.
5. Take “Me” time. Remember to take time to relax and recharge in whatever way feels good to you. During the holiday we often so focused on others that our own needs get set aside, a definite recipe for crabbiness. Journal, listen to music, take a warm bath. That said it’s also helpful to give back. Volunteering at a soup kitchen can provide the type of self-fulfillment that your local Target can’t.
Have a joyous and peaceful holiday!