By Carlie Kerechanin, Contributing blogger
The holidays are here! For most people, the holiday season is associated with fun, festivities, and family, but there can often be an unwelcome guest (or two) in the mix.
These intruders are stress and depression.
If you experience a sense of unhappiness, irritation, or anxiety during the holidays, you’re not alone. The cold winter months can often lead to seasonal depression, and the high demand of coordinating holiday plans is a sure way to leave you irritated and annoyed.
Living a healthy lifestyle is not exclusive to what you eat and how active you are. Mental and emotional health are key components to living healthy.
Here are some tips to help you beat the holiday blues!
You Have More Power Than You Think
The mind is a crazy place. Even if you portray a calm exterior, your mind could tell an entirely different story. Don’t ignore your feelings; acknowledge your experience and accept that it is negative. Pushing feelings away or indulging in something that will make you forget about them will only make matters worse.
Instead, recognize your situation, determine that you want to change, and ask for help if needed.
Health & Fitness Can Actually Help
If you’re feeling down and out, the last thing you probably want to do is hit the gym. Despite this inclination, sweating it out just might be the perfect solution. When you sweat, your body releases endorphins, chemicals that make you feel good. Fitness can also help boost confidence and ease anxiety.
If you’re thinking there’s no way you could possibly find time to work out during the holidays, you’re wrong. After all, a productive workout can happen in as little as 10 minutes.
Whether it’s some relaxed yoga or stretching in the morning, quick squats and lunges between present wrapping, or crunches while waiting for the oven to preheat, prioritize yourself.
So crank up your favorite track and pump the iron! Don’t worry about time or pace. Simply exercise until you feel better. If anything, it’ll at least take your mind off the negatives, and give you a tangible goal to help put you back in control.
Put Down the Cookies
Holiday treats are no doubt one of the best parts of the season, but we just talked about control.When you are in control, you have the power to begin to change your situation. When you aren’t in control, you may binge and spiral.
A treat or two isn’t an issue, but try to avoid using food to cope with your stress.
One of the best ways to do this is by finding a replacement! Feel the stress creeping in? Choose something besides food to boost your mood. Whether it’s your favorite tune, a phone call to a friend, or quick meditation session-- determine the activity ahead of time and stick with it.
It May Not Work...
It’s important to understand that no matter what you do to try to relieve your holiday stress this year, it may not be 100% effective. That’s okay.
The holidays are a crazy time. Understand that there may be unexpected occurrences, or things that you can not remedy, despite your best efforts. Coming to terms with this ahead of time will lessen the impact it has on you.
...But it Just Might!
Stay positive this holiday season. Focus on the warmth of your fresh cookies, the comfort of your favorite candle scent, and the joy of finding the perfect Christmas tree.
Pull over for that well-decorated house down the street and take your time under the mistletoe. Indulge in the seasons, and indulge in yourself.
With love and sweat,