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Holiday Self-Care

If you're saying “oh no” rather than “ho ho,” consider these holiday self-care suggestions for putting yourself at the top of the list.

Holiday Self-Care

The words holiday and self-care may not seem like they go together. In fact, for some of us, celebrating the holidays can be a monumental effort often filled with stress. Before the whirlwind of the season starts, recommit to a workable routine of holiday self-care, says Larry Cammarata, PhD, a licensed psychologist and mindfulness educator.

The Top Three Holiday Self-Care Tips

1. Exercise

“Take time to do what you normally do to manage stress, such as weight training, aerobics, meditation, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, etc.,” says Cam­marata. “Stay [dedicated] to this routine before and during the holidays.”

Mary E. Miriani, a personal trainer from Naperville, Illinois, puts her workouts at the top of her holiday list. “The positive music playlist [I have created] changes a little to include a ‘peace on earth’ theme,” she says. “I do not restrict myself to only holiday music, but anything that fits that theme. After working out to this music, I find that I cannot help but be calm and joyful.”

See also: Celebrating Inclusive Holidays

If you don’t have as much time to exercise as you usually do, consider a reduced workout schedule, suggests Kate Larsen, president of Winning LifeStyles Inc., in Excelsior, Minnesota. “This is better than no exercise at all,” she says. “The physical release of body and mind with exercise has a ripple effect that may allow you to let go and relax more through the holidays.”

2. Sleep

Cammarata recommends committing to getting a full night’s sleep every night. “Regulate your waking and sleeping times, and cut down on late night TV and computer use. Also, [know that] alcohol can increase feelings of depression and interfere with the quality of your sleep.”

3. Nutrition

Larsen advises being vigilant about the foods and drinks you consume. “Holiday foods will zap your energy and cause your blood sugar (and mood) to wave up and down,” she says. “Keep asking yourself whether a ‘fun’ food is worth the impact on your body and soul.”

Miriani uses a “get real” approach for food at holiday parties. She prepares for them by giving herself “permission to be ‘off-duty’ and enjoy some of my favorite foods and drink,” she says. “As fitness professionals we are held to a higher standard regarding eating, and it is hugely stressful when people expect us to only eat carrot sticks and always forego dessert. I like to stay real by keeping in mind that I eat well most of the time, and my exercise routine is always in place. Furthermore, I do not judge my friends and relatives who are enjoying some holiday treats.”

See also: Food Swaps for a Health Holiday

For more tips on how to decrease stress and find bliss during the holidays this year, see Enjoying the Holiday Season.

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