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4 Tips to Protect your Mental and Physical Health during the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of year again! But with so many social gatherings, family, friends, presents to buy, food to prepare, travel, etc. the holidays can easily leave us feeling stressed, tired and burned out. In order to make the most of holidays I’m sharing four tips to protect your mental and physical health this holidays season.  

Set Boundaries

I think this is something we could all be better at year-round, but especially during the holidays. I’m talking about setting boundaries. The first step in setting boundaries is remember these two little letters: N and O. Yes, it is ok to say “no”.

To say no to parties. To say no to family that invites themselves for a visit. To say no to hosting. It is OKAY to say no to anything that disturbs your peace.

The key is to come from a place of love. It’s not that you don’t want to see family and friends or travel across the country for the 5th Christmas in a row. It’s simply that life is busy, and you deserve to make your happiness a priority this holiday season, not just the happiness of those around you. After all, showing up to a party you don’t want to be at will just fuel resentment that will last beyond the holidays. Preserve your relationships and your own mental health and simply utter the word “No”. It really can be that easy!

Stick to your Routine

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, traveling or having family in town, it’s easy to fall out of your routine. But, if your morning or nighttime routine is something you look forward to, don’t sacrifice it. After all, when life gets busy, that’s when you need routine the most. Especially if your routine fuels your mental health.

Personally, I need to get some form of exercise every morning. When traveling, I always get out for a walk before starting my day. It’s an easy form of exercise that you can do just about anywhere. If you belong to a nationwide gym, consider finding the closest one to your relative’s house and paying it a visit. Or simply find six feet of open space to do some stretching or yoga. If you like to meditate, that’s something you can do just about anywhere. Carve out a few minutes and make it a priority. We are creatures of habit, so make time for the things that make you feel your best.

Give Thanks

Isn’t this what the holidays are all about. People won’t remember what you gave them this Christmas, or what you cooked for them on Thanksgiving. But, they will remember how you made them feel. Give thanks to the people in your life that you love and care about. Wake up each morning and practice gratitude. Say what you are thankful for before going to bed. A thankful heart and a positive attitude can do wonders for your mental health.

Remember your “Why”

If your family is anything like mine, the holidays center around food. Some of the best memories are born in the kitchen or around the dinner table during the holidays. And some of the best meals are made around the holidays!

Why is it that we reserve so many delicious recipes, that could be made year round, for this one particular season? I don’t know, but you better believe that I will enjoy every bite of fudge, chocolate pie and cheesecake that I desire this holiday season! And I encourage you to indulge and enjoy as well!

One trick I use to prevent massively overindulging to the point that I feel sick is remembering my “why”. Like we’ve said, this is supposed to be the best time of year! Do you really want to spend it curled up in bed with a stomachache, migraine or feeling sluggish? If you know that certain foods make you feel crappy, consider if it’s worth it.

Personally, I know that I need to start my day on a healthy note. Tons of sugar, processed food or alcohol first thing in the morning will leave me feeling tired or give me a headache. For that reason, I skip the early morning cinnamon rolls and mimosas but absolutely enjoy eating and drinking these things later in the day.

When it comes to food, it’s all about your mindset and being mindful. Instead of focusing on restricting yourself, focus on feeling your best. It makes saying no to a third piece of pie a whole lot easier.

Parting Words

Despite the busyness of the holidays, I absolutely live for this time of year! But, like many, they can take a toll on my mental and physical health. The tips above are the tools I have learned over the years to protect my physical and emotional wellbeing. I hope they can bring comfort and peace to you this holiday season.

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