Health Hacks to Beat Holiday Stress
If you normally get stressed during the busy holiday season, you’re not alone. Whether you’re overwhelmed with the excessive shopping, preparation for celebrations and festivities, or dread the constant family gatherings, it’s common for many people to struggle getting into the holiday spirit. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep holiday stress at bay.
In the midst of all the chaos, try practicing these health hacks to beat holiday stress:
Give Back to Yourself
When you think about the holidays, you probably associate it with the season of giving. And while it is true that these next few months are about giving back to others, they’re also about giving back to yourself. Your health and well-being may fall to the wayside as your schedule becomes over-packed, but it doesn’t have to. Blocking out a small amount of time for yourself every day is just enough time to focus on enhancing your wellness! For example, revamping your daily skincare routine is an effective way to give back to yourself as it allows you to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
For many people, stress presents itself through the skin, typically in the form of acne. This happens when you feel overwhelmed because your body releases a stress hormone known as cortisol, which acts to speed up the production of other hormones, like androgens, in your body. In turn, these androgens cause oil production (sebum) to increase, leading to acne breakouts. Depending on how stressed you may be, the chances of you getting acne may vary. But, for those of you who already battle with recurrent breakouts, your acne is more likely to worsen with elevated stress levels. That’s why it’s critical to change your skincare routine and/or skincare products in a way that aligns with your needs and skin type.
Before you decide which adjustment to make, evaluate your skincare routine and the products you’re currently using and how they’re working for you. Does your skin feel greasy? Have you been successful combating breakouts when they pop up? Answering these questions will give you some direction on what to look for in new skincare products and methods. However, as a general rule of thumb, search for skincare products containing retinol as this ingredient serves to reduce the appearance of acne by preventing dead skin cells, clogged pores, and the formation of acne scars. Besides that, you should also avoid touching your face after performing your skincare routine and wash your makeup brushes and pillow cases regularly.
Eat Healthy Snacks Between Meals
It’s unrealistic to think that you can avoid all the sugary and high-calorie foods during the holidays. For this reason, rather than giving all your attention to building a well-balanced plate for every meal, try to eat healthier snacks between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This way, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds and not have to deprive yourself of sampling your favorite treats.
It’s also crucial to not ignore your stomach when it growls for food. Plus, going out on an empty stomach will make you feel famished leading up to your meal, causing you to over-indulge when it comes time to eat. But, by eating a healthy snack before attending a holiday festivity, you’re less likely to pile on that second serving during meals because the snacks will help to curb your appetite.
As reported by Harvard Health Publishing, eating healthy pre-party snacks like apples and peanut butter or a slice of turkey on whole-wheat bread is an effective way to care for your body and maintain your diet. This will make for a perfect combination of complex carbohydrates, saturated fats, and protein. Some snacks you eat may even support weight loss! To learn more about the other creative and satisfying healthy snacks to fill up on, check out this link.
Drink More Water
One simple health hack to try during the holidays is drinking more water. Besides the fact that it can help to boost your level of hydration and energy levels, drinking more water can also be an effective solution to counteract overeating. When it comes to the holidays, stopping yourself from overeating can be quite challenging, especially when you’re exposed to all the delicious treats and savory-sweets! From high-calorie foods to countless sugary drinks, it’s difficult to be mindful of how often you’re overindulging. Fortunately, by drinking more water throughout all of the holiday activities, you’re actually less likely to consume more than your body can handle.
Water acts as a natural appetite suppressant because it takes up space in your stomach. When this happens, your stomach sends signals to your brain to tell it you’re full and to stop eating, thus hindering your desire to eat more. Research shows that just drinking two glasses of water before meals can help you feel fuller more quickly, restraining you from overeating.
Additionally, water burns calories faster. A 2014 study found that the increased energy levels that come from drinking more water allows people to burn off an extra two to three calories within a ninety-minute timeframe. Still, the temperature of the water you’re drinking may impact how one’s energy levels are affected. Usually drinking colder water, is better for increasing calorie expenditure as it works to raise your body’s energy levels for it to warm up. So, before you think about piling on another serving of your favorite meal or enjoying all those tasty baked goods and candies, grab your water bottle first and fill up!
Schedule Time to Exercise
Along with drinking more water, you should also take some time to exercise. There’s no denying how difficult it can be to have the motivation for exercise. Nevertheless, it’s imperative for your health and well-being to not underestimate the importance of staying physically active. Regardless if you perform a thirty-minute workout or find alternative ways to keep moving, this will help strengthen your muscles and enhance your endurance, which can do wonders for your wellness.
Getting enough physical activity is imperative for everyone, no matter what age you are. If you’re an adult, however, to be considered “healthy,” the Department of Human and Health Services recommends that you’ll need at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) to 300 minutes (five hours) of physical activity per week. This means completing moderate-and-vigorous aerobic activities consistently throughout the week such as gardening, walking, running, swimming, and cycling.
One of the most efficient ways to incorporate exercise into your schedule is by doing it first thing in the morning. Although you may choose to work out at another point during the day, there’s a variety of health benefits from exercising in the morning. Similar to the saying, “the early bird catches the worm,” working out in the AM has been linked to various benefits such as greater productivity, lower blood pressure, and better sleep. Exercising in the morning will also make it easier for you to adhere to your fitness routine because you’ll be less likely to become unmotivated throughout the day.
Learn to Say ‘No’
While you may be hesitant to say “no” to your loved ones during the holidays, sometimes it’s necessary to support both your sanity and personal well-being. Nobody can manage everything by themselves. Going out of your way to complete all your holiday obligations by yourself is both unfair and impractical. Just like everyone else, you deserve to have time for yourself and to spend with your friends and family. Instead of catering to everyone’s wants and needs, you must learn to say “no” sometimes.
Our inability or unwillingness to decline an invitation or obligation is natural due to our human instinct to be socially obliging to the people around us. Even if it’s at our own expense, attempting to make everyone happy is something we as human beings strive to do, and especially so during the season of giving. As a result, many of us are left feeling stressed, upset, and overworked by the time the holidays are finally over.
There’s no sense in overcommitting to things you’re uninterested in doing. To try and get into the holiday spirit, you have to practice saying “no” when you don’t want to or are unable to take on another task. There’s nothing wrong with passing off a few opportunities if it’s for the sake of keeping your mind at ease and your health in check. Your friends and family aren’t going to scrutinize you over the little things, in fact, they’d probably be more than willing to assist you in any way that they can. So, in addition to saying “no,” you should also be willing to ask for help when you need it.
As you move forward, remember that as important as it is to spend the season giving back to others, it’s equally as important to give back to yourself too. Using these health hacks, try to spend this holiday season kicking back and relaxing when you can, and not over-stress when you can’t. It’s all about doing what you’re able to do and trying your best. If you’re doing all these things, there’s no reason for you to not enjoy everything the holiday season has to offer. From good food to good company, it’s your job to appreciate and enjoy this time.