Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Those Holiday Blues

The holidays are upon us and for many people this means having to deal with family members with whom they don’t get along, eating too much, not exercising, being stressed out at work, not taking time to relax, and incurring too many bills from buying presents the budget wouldn’t allow. 

So how do we de-stress from the holidays and manage to get through to January in one piece?  Here’s some helpful hints to keep you emotionally healthy:

1)      Recognize your patterns of behavior and if you’ve been tempted before to spend too much, set up a budget plan for your holiday spending, and then stick to it. 
2)      If you’ve previously had a hard time being around certain family members who might be critical or judgmental of you, limit your exposure to them and if you can keep your distance from them. 
3)      If you happen to have problems with SAD during the winter (i.e. seasonal affective disorder) then make sure that you are outside for at least 30 minutes a day soaking up the sunrays.  This will help you increase your mood.  If you have SAD make sure to exercise, at least 30 minutes of walking every day.  Get your sleep, 8 hours a night.  Limit your alcohol intake.
4)      Remember at the holiday dinner, it’s not a competition as to who makes the best pie, or cooks the most delicious turkey.   The holiday dinner is supposed to be fun, filled with great conversation and laughter.  Who’s going to remember who made the best pie or the most delicious turkey years from  now?  But I bet you will remember the cameraderie you shared, the joy you had. 
5)      If you’re going to be at a relative’s house, plan for what the kids are going to do, bring along games for them, or set aside a room for them to play in away from all of the adults.  Hence they won’t be underfoot or in the way. 
6)      Don’t set yourself up for defeat.  If you’re previous holidays have been only so-so, don’t set yourself up with expectations that this holiday season you’re going to go and do so and so and also so and so.  If you think this way and then it doesn’t happen, you’re only setting yourself up for an emotional let down.   Be realistic in your expectations of what is going to happen this holiday season.
7)      Keep up with your exercise, stay on your regular schedule regarding it.  Exercise not only helps to lift your mood, but it also helps to address those extra calories we tend to eat over the holidays. 
8)      If your kids tend to get hyper when they have eaten a lot of sugar, limit their sugar intake. 
9)      Eat balanced meals during the holidays.  You can have a bite of cake or a small piece of pie, but try to eat a balanced diet during the day so that your own blood sugar levels stay level and hence you don’t become moody or overly tired.
10)   Lastly, set yourself a goal for  next year and use this holiday season to begin working at it, whether that is to lose weight, go back to school, learn a new skills, whatever.  You’ll feel good about working towards a goal you want and by the time the New Year rolls around you would have already started working on your New Year’s resolution.  By starting early on it, you’re more likely to follow through to completion with it. 

I hope you enjoy your holidays with your family members. 

Again, thanks for reading, sharon

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