‘Tis the Season to be Jolly—Not Frazzled. Here’s How.

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly—Not Frazzled. Here’s How.

Christmas is supposed to be a merry time. Instead, it’s often an occasion for overspending, overdoing, and overeating—and that can leave you feeling stressed, tired and down on yourself. But it’s not too late to reclaim your holiday spirit. These tips can help you recapture the joy of the season and take better care of your health.

Reset Your Expectations

The number one priority: Don’t aim for the perfect Christmas. It doesn’t exist, and striving for it only leads to frustration and disappointment. Instead, focus on having a relaxing, meaningful holiday that honors your personal, cultural and religious traditions.

Maintain Healthy Habits

Follow your usual schedule for meals, exercise and sleep as much as possible. You might even work in a little extra physical activity. If you have kids in the house, bundle them up and go for a walk around the park. Invite guests to join you for a game of basketball at the community center or take an extra lap around the mall after you finish shopping.

Anticipate the stress that may occur if you pile too many extra activities on top of your already-busy schedule. When things start feeling hectic rather than fun, give yourself permission to put up fewer decorations or turn down some invitations.

Create New Traditions

Holiday traditions repeated year after year help strengthen your family bonds. Start a fun, new tradition this year. Gather to decorate a wreath, play a board game, watch a favorite movie or sing Christmas carols.

Some of the most memorable traditions are cooked up in the kitchen. If your cherished family recipes are laden with fat and sugar, look for subtle ways to make them healthier like replacing the butter in a baking recipe with an equal amount of no-sugar-added applesauce or the chocolate chips in cookies with dried cherries.

Prep Your Party Strategy

Have a plan for enjoying yourself at parties without wrecking your good eating habits. Grab a healthy snack beforehand so you won’t arrive ravenous. Once you’re at the party, scope out the food table and decide what you’ll eat before you start filling your plate.

Think before you drink, too, or skip the alcohol altogether. For a nonalcoholic, reduced-calorie beverage that’s still festive, dilute eggnog with skim milk, or try mixing sparkling water with fruit juice to create a virgin cocktail.

Don’t Overspend on Gifts

Spending beyond your means leads to stress—and money worries can dog you well into the new year. Scale back your gift list, and stick with a shopping budget. Consider homemade gifts, which are often treasured long after store-bought presents are forgotten.

In addition, consider sharing your time by volunteering. Serve dinner at a homeless shelter or volunteer for a community program that assists those in need.

Helping others feels good, and it puts your own life challenges in perspective. Plus, it’s a great way to tap into the true spirit of holiday giving.

Happy holdays!

For more tips on health and wellness, visit our Lifestyle Medicine page or explore Healthy Life events. Want even more wellness tips, visit our Staywell Library.

-Source: Staywell

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