Every season has its ups and downs especially the holiday season. It always seems to add an abundance of stress and anxiety into our lives and I'm sure 2020 will prove to do the same. Here are some tips to help you practice mental self-care and stay at your best during the "most wonderful time of the year".
If you enjoy being in the kitchen, whip out your eggs, flour, butter and make some sugar cookies. Don't get caught up in perfecting their appearance, but instead just let loose and shake out the colorful sprinkles and layer on the icing. I always thought the cookies that looked the messiest tasted the best, so unleash your inner child and maybe even eat a little bit of the cookie dough while you're at it (;
Take a break from whatever is bothering you and enjoy some time outdoors in the crisp December air. Whether you choose to exercise by partaking in a nice brisk walk or just sit on your front porch with a mug of hot chocolate, spending some time outside always tends to clear out the cobwebs and leave you feeling more rejuvenated and refreshed.
BINGE WATCH (a little)
Whether you enjoy Hallmark movies or just stick with the classics, allow yourself to escape into your favorite Christmas or holiday movies. It's always fun to get caught up in another world for just a little while, but don't get too immersed for too long. Studies have shown that excessive watching of 3.5+ hours can lead to a reduction in cognitive processing and metabolism. However, you can still get in one good movie or two before you break that barrier.
Sometimes it helps to self-reflect and meditate when you're feeling overwhelmed. Rather than bringing others into the stress with you, just take some deep breaths and write it all down. This will help you relax and release the stressors in your life, while also preventing you from unloading on someone else and pulling them into your worries with you. If you choose this method, hold on to the journal entries you do write so next time you can look back and gain some encouragement knowing you survived these worrisome times and will survive your future ones as well.
Sleep is so key to your physical and mental health. Sometimes some shut-eye is hard to get even after you climb in bed because your mind is still running 1000 miles/minute. To help with this, make sure that you aren't drinking any caffeine at least 8 hours prior to your bedtime, and put your electronics away within 30 minutes before bed. Both of these can be hard to do especially if you need that late afternoon cup of coffee to finish off the work day and then are coming home trying to catch up on everything through your computer or phone. Studies have shown that caffeine takes a while to wear off the body and drinking that 3:00 pm cup of coffee can drastically mess up your sleep cycle. If you need that extra boost of energy to get through the day, check out 6 Best Foods for an Energy Boost. As far as the electronics go, the blue light emitting from the screen can cause disturbances in sleep as well, try reading a book instead. The social media posts, emails, and messages will all be there for you in the morning after a good night's rest.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Don't let the holidays bog you down, it's supposed to be a joyous occasion. There are many other ways to reduce stress and if you have a favorite that isn't listed don't hesitate to share because others may want to try your method out. Remember to take care of your mental well-being because if you don't then you can't help others; no one can pour out from an empty cup!