This time of year is a good time to take note of all the influences that play a part in your health and well-being. Your overall health and happiness is dependent on many things—so much more than a number on the scale or a dial on the blood pressure cuff.
Your relationships, finances, environment, work, and more all have a huge impact on your health and happiness. So before you dive into the busy season, here are some tips and info about how to help navigate the season.
Keep your body healthy!
Holiday challenges: During the holidays, many of us eat more, exercise less, and end up feeling tired.
Ideas and tips: No matter if your daily routine stays the same (with a few added treat temptations), or if you’re traveling and your schedule and diet are turned upside down, commit to being mindful of what you eat (lots of veggies!), and get a minimum of 30 minutes of daily activity. Try to get enough sleep (7-8 hours) and find an online yoga/stretching routine—or dress for the weather and get outside!
Keep your mind healthy!
Holiday challenges: Depending on your life circumstances, the holidays can feel emotionally fulfilling—or stressful and lonely. Whatever you feel, take time to acknowledge it. If you’re not happy with how you’re doing, make a plan and start with small steps that will lead to big changes.
Ideas and tips: Take action with some simple breathing exercises. Research shows that breath focus can lower the heart rate and lower or stabilize blood pressure. Take 2 to 5 min to breathe deeply after you wake up, or just before bed. Lie down or sit comfortably, close your eyes, place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, and slowly inhale and exhale through your nose. Feel how air enters and exits the belly and chest at each breath.
Holiday challenges: We can get so wrapped up in our own lives, we often lose touch with others. And with all the focus and attention on relationships, if there are gaps in ours, it can feel extra terrible.
Ideas and tips: If you’re one of the lucky ones with a good support system of friends and family, be compassionate and reach out to someone who may be struggling. But if you’re feeling lonely, take a step outside isolation and reach out to your community. Maybe it’s texting an old friend or family member you’ve lost touch with, or looking up some social meet-ups. Meetup.com has a wide range of activities, hobbies and interests in communities all over the world.
Keep your brain active!
Holiday challenges: If you’ve been feeling restless or overtaxed, maybe the holidays are a time to try a new hobby or skill.
Ideas and tips: Take time to ignite your curiosity by sitting down with a book, trying a new recipe, or exploring a new hobby or skill.
Find a balance of work and play!
Holiday challenges: The holidays might mean time for extra relaxation…or extra work. Take note if you’re feeling balanced—or not. If you need to make changes, take action.
Ideas and tips: If you have time off, try not to work the whole time (this is true for people who work outside the home, from home, or in the home). It’s tough to unplug and take time to recharge, but it might be healthy that you do. Set boundaries for yourself and communicate to your colleagues, friends, and family.
Spend within your means!
Holiday challenges: Between buying gifts and entertaining, the holidays can bring on financial stress. But if you set some guidelines, you can reduce the financial strain—and the stress that often follows.
Ideas and tips: Decide how you want to feel after the holidays, and design your budget accordingly. Then, stick to what you decide to spend! If you are in a personal partnership, be transparent about your finances and keep each other accountable for your holiday spending. And consider that you don’t NEED to spend so much on gifts. There are lots of different ways to celebrate!
Stay comfortable and connected to your environment!
Holiday challenges: Extra people, extra noise, extra waste…often this time of year feels very busy, and it can be taxing.
Ideas and tips: If you exchange gifts, get creative with packaging to reduce waste. Check out this article for alternative ideas for wrapping. https://home.howstuffworks.com/green-living/green-gift-wrap-alternatives.htm And if you’re feeling overwhelmed by any part of your surroundings, take time to recharge. Nature has a great way of helping us feel less stressed and more balanced.
Do things that matter to you!
Holiday challenges: If you’re not feeling like there’s any purpose to the holidays, the whole season might leave you stressed or annoyed.
Ideas and tips: Ask yourself what’s important to you and make sure you’re spending your time and energy on those things, not things that don’t matter. Do things that align to your personal values. If shopping for gifts isn’t important, talk to the people in your life and let them know. If you feel like you need a focus or purpose, check out the volunteer opportunities in your community that align to your ideals. It might be fun to volunteer some time as a whole family.
The Carebook team wishes you the happiest and healthiest of holidays—full of balance and FUN.