The holidays can be a time of joy, family, friendship and celebration. They can also be a time of stress and anxiety.
Even for those that love the family get-togethers, the stress of holiday shopping, finances, and hosting relatives can tear them apart. When stress hits this time of year, it’s easy to turn to that tray of cookies for moral support. After all, cookies won’t criticize you about your life choices the way your family will.
But, of course that is not healthy and you know it. Plus, you’ll feel even less joy when you realize that you have undone the whole year’s worth of fitness you’ve worked so hard for. If you find the holidays cause you to gobble down more than you should as a way to cope with the stress, I am sharing these 5 ways to stop the stress eating before the first tray of cookies is trotted out to the company break room or your get-togethers with friends.
Even if you realize you didn’t quite hit the business goals you created for the year, or your mom says you’re still single because one of your nails on your manicure is chipped, or your kids are acting up, instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, get outside in the fresh air for a walk, hit the gym, chase your kids in the yard, or just do something physical that appeals to you. You’ll release the stress and the exercise will help release the proper chemicals in your brain to make you feel better.
Refresh Your Mind
The brain needs exercise too. Instead of letting it harp on the negative things that cause you to stress-eat, give it something constructive to do. Take 10 to 20 minutes to yourself to read something you want to read, work on a crossword puzzle or do something else that stimulates your mind in an enjoyable way. It will help you feel refreshed. The brain also needs rest. Make sure you are getting to bed at your normal time. It is so easy to burn the candle at both ends this time of year. The more you can keep your routines the better. When you are tired, grabbing for those sugary treats that are in such abundance becomes so much easier. To ease stress, slow down. Take even a few minutes for an easy meditation. Sit where it is quiet. Anoint yourself with some frankincense or sandalwood essential oils. Just flow with your breath. When your mind wanders just go back to your breath. Don’t worry about clearing your mind. Just follow the breath. Do this for 5 minutes. Now you will find you are more prepared for the stress that come at you during the day.
Focus on healthy eating
While it’s true that the holidays are certainly a time for more indulgent meals, this isn’t a time to completely deny yourself of a few favorites; when you focus on your healthy eating prior to the big family dinners, it won’t be such a shock to your waistline. Make sure you’re eating meals as you would normally without skipping them. If you starve yourself all day because your job or your family (or both!) is making you nuts, you’re more prone to stuffing yourself at dinner with things that aren’t very healthful.
No one is perfect so if you find you caved in to peer pressure and ate treats you promised yourself you wouldn’t, forgive yourself. Feeling negative doesn’t empower you or motivate you to make the changes you need to avoid feeling like this in the future. When a child falls over, it is lifted up with love, empathy and compassion to try again. We must practice this with ourselves. Move on. Make the next thing you eat healthy.
Creating a holiday that is joy filled does not mean you need to have a home full of every treat available. Pick a couple of your family favorites, You know the ones-they evoke a memory of a time or loved one that has meaning. Leave the rest. Make this more a time of experiences and meaningful relationships. That is what you will hold on to the rest of the year. Long after the food is put away.