Although the holidays are often a time for cheer, thankfulness and positive reflection, the season can also be a difficult time for those suffering from seasonal stress, despite being surrounded by loved ones.
In the busy holiday season, people tend to neglect self-care. The holidays are more enjoyable when you’re feeling rested and peaceful, so try and prioritize taking care of yourself. Not sure where to start? Here are five ways to practice self-care during the holidays.
Ask for help
Many people have a long to-do list during the holiday season, but it's important to remember that you don’t have to get everything done on your own. Therefore, if you’re hosting a holiday meal, make it a potluck. Jeffrey Zurofsky, Newport Academy’s Culinary Program Director, often asks his guests to help out with setting and decorating the holiday table. “One person brings flowers, another brings candles and someone else makes the centerpiece,” he said.
Get enough sleep
Sleep has a powerful impact on well-being and mental health. When we don’t get enough, especially during stressful times, it can wreak havoc with our emotions. In several recent studies, researchers found people who lost a night of sleep to exhibit higher levels of stress.
During the holidays, we often let our regular routines slide. Instead, stick to your exercise schedule. Multiple studies confirm that exercise positively impacts mental health. Families can even consider incorporating exercise into their holiday routines through fun activities such as turkey trots or other road races.
Take moments of mindfulness wherever you find them.
Stuck in a long line while grocery shopping or holiday shopping? Use the time to take six long, deep breaths. Waiting in a traffic jam at the mall? While sitting in your car, simply relax your body, moving from the toes up to the head. Even a moment or two of conscious breathing and relaxation can boost your mood significantly.
Research shows that volunteering offers mental and physical health benefits.
The holidays are a perfect time to reach out and help others. For example, families could help out at a food pantry or serve a holiday dinner at a local shelter. This is a great way to make holiday connections.
To learn more about how to stay stress-free this holiday season, visit Newport Academy's website.