Here are seven ways to stay well this holiday season.
- Calm your mind. Meditation and conscious breathing train your body to pause and relax when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. When your mind and body are in balance, decision-making becomes easier and coping with overwhelming situations becomes second nature. Also, mediation doesn’t have to take long. Even 10 minutes can change everything.
- Practice conscious breathing. Busy shopping malls and emotionally challenging family members can jack up our anxiety. The next time you feel your stress level rising, stop and practice conscious breathing. Take a couple relaxing breaths by inhaling through your nose to the count of 4, holding that breath for 7 seconds and then exhaling through your mouth to the count of 8. Do this as much and as often as you need.
- Drink a lot. While holiday cocktails can be festive, it’s easy to overdo it. That’s why it’s important to stay hydrated. The solution: Drink more water and don’t abandon your juicing practice. Plan your self-care success by prepping your juice ingredients the night before a gathering. Start your party day with an energizing green drink and make an extra serving for when you get home.
- Squeeze in a quickie. If you’re too busy to hit your favorite spin class, do a speedy online workout instead. It’ll lift your spirits and your buns. Try downloading a few free (or low-cost) apps with short guided workouts (examples: Pocket Yoga, Fitocracy, or Sworkit). If you like gadgets and data, get a Fitbit, which tracks your steps and your sleep patterns, so you know how much activity and rest you’re getting each day.
- Take a cat nap. Meow. Set your alarm for 30 minutes or less, lie down, close your eyes and relax. This isn’t meant to be a long, deep sleep. Short, light naps restore alertness, cognitive function and memory, leaving you feeling refreshed. They also improve your mood and help you think clearly. In just 6 minutes of sleep, wakefulness can be restored, and performance and learning can be enhanced.
- Follow the little black dress plan. A simple black dress is a staple in my closet. And, the same approach can be applied to food. You don’t need much to be glamorous at an event or in the kitchen. Be realistic about how much time you’ll have to create elaborate, labor-intensive meals. Instead, opt for simple recipes with wow factor. Batch cook soups and stews. And if you’re worried about how to handle constant food temptations this time of year, check out my tips here.
- Get organized. Whether you’re a family of one or many, getting organized will ease your mind. Take 15 minutes to review the calendar. Do you need to coordinate with your partner on something? Any outstanding questions weighing on you? Maybe there’s an engagement you want to cancel or a weekend you want to block out for no obligations. Gather your thoughts and remember how you want to feel this holiday season. Spacious? Connected? Centered? Adjust your plans accordingly.