8 Ways to Manage Stress & Enjoy Happy, Healthy Holidays

8 Ways to Manage Stress & Enjoy Happy, Healthy Holidays

healthy holidays

Focusing on having healthy holidays and a season of joy and celebration allows you to enjoy good times when friends and family come together to celebrate another year gone by. This is a timely reminder after the last few years of how wonderful it is to get together, enjoy face-to-face contact and hug someone.

Unfortunately, this time can also become a time when we overextend ourselves and neglect our health, usually, with the idea we’ll get back on track after the holidays and make health one of our new year’s resolutions.

It doesn’t need to be like this. With simple planning and mindfulness, your health can stay a priority, and you can end the year feeling just as good as you’ll be starting a new healthy year ahead.

1. Good planning supports healthy holidays

A successful holiday season that is less stressful starts with good planning. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the food preparation, gift shopping, socialising and anything else on your to-do list.

Don’t let it swamp you. Start by writing a list of everything that needs to be done. Use the list to schedule and plan when things need to be done. Plan when you’ll go shopping, wrap presents, bake, prep the food or even have a quiet moment. Having a schedule can support you to avoid being overwhelmed as everything is under control. It’s also a good idea to schedule some physical activity so it doesn’t get forgotten among all the holiday activities. And remember to build free time into your schedule too!

2. Stay on top of the stress

healthy holidays

Stress can easily become part of the holiday season, and we all know it’s coming – no matter how prepared you are. Don’t let it get the best of you, stay on top of your stress, and you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday season fully. Start your day with a simple 5-minute meditation or mindfulness exercise; sit quietly and comfortably and focus on slow deep breathing. Watching the early morning sun is a great way of setting your circadian rhythm for the day… sunglasses off with some skin exposed.

This grounding exercise gives your body time to calm and stay centred before a busy day ahead. Another simple technique is to make time for some simple yoga in your schedule, this will allow your body to rest, recover and recalibrate. You could try our simple at-home Sun Salute guide.

3. Make sleep a priority

Sleep is the most important part of the day to optimise your healthy holidays, yet during the holiday season, it is often one of the first things we sacrifice. Getting a consistently good night’s sleep allows you to make better decisions about what you eat and drink and how you approach all the stressors of your day. When it comes to sleep, it’s a question of quantity (getting enough sleep) and quality (breathing well while you are asleep).

The recommended amount of uninterrupted sleep is 7-8 hours each night. This can be a challenge during the holiday season with all the parties, but if you make sleep a priority, you’ll be amazed at how good you can feel. Limit alcohol consumption, particularly at night, as it affects the quality of your sleep, not to mention your whole body biochemistry.

4. Eat well and intermittently

healthy holidays

The holiday season can mean chaotic schedules fill up with different parties and eating engagements. Including adequate ethically grown protein and healthy fat, and green vegetables will mean your body is nourished, and you’ll be able to make healthy choices for the rest of the day.

Intermittent fasting… eating in a 6-8 hour window in the day has been shown to have beneficial effects on many people’s blood sugar and insulin levels. Fasting, even just for 24 hours occasionally, can be a real cleansing experience… not so easy during the festive season, but something to keep in mind.

5. Eat nourishing foods to maximise your healthy holidays

Don’t let junk food become the norm during the holiday season. When we eat healthy whole foods, we feed our body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best. Of course, it’s ok to have a little treat occasionally, but if it becomes an every day and every meal occurrence, then it isn’t a treat anymore.

6. Stay hydrated

healthy holidays

Clean filtered water is still the best drink. Our body is 60-70% water….not beer, wine, coffee… water. So keep this in mind and drink water when you are thirsty. Listen to your body.

Staying hydrated is SO important for our bodies overall health.

It’s easy during the holiday season to forget about the water and switch it for a glass of wine or beer, but dehydration is dangerous for our bodies. It can cause a whole range of issues, including allergies, asthma, colitis, constipation, migraine headaches and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.

As a little holiday bonus, water can also help with weight loss and flushing out unwanted toxins, perfect for when we may have overindulged too much.

7. Let go of family drama

The holiday season usually has a big focus on family time, which for some people can mean a lot of anxiety and stress. While we are not able to change people or events, we can change the way we think about them. That is often easier said than done, but it’s why sleeping well, eating well, exercising, and building relaxation into your day are so important…..and you’ll have a better chance of changing the way you think about things and people.

So don’t let it get you down this season; take a deep breath and look at the big picture. If we are lucky enough to have family around us to celebrate these occasions with, if a problem does arise, respond with love and gratitude. Hopefully, that will diffuse the situation.

8. Enjoy the moment and be present to savour your healthy holidays

Time flies so fast that it can quickly feel like a big blur. Be mindful and enjoy the moment this holiday season. This special time of year can mean we get caught up in the big celebrations, but don’t let the little moments pass you by. Gratitude and happiness are valuing what you have and living in the moment to enjoy the people, places and events in your life. While gift-giving is a fun experience, it’s the connections and moments you share with your loved ones that will last a lifetime.

Be well and enjoy it!

From the team at SHDC, we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!