The holidays can be a joyous time of year shared with family and friends, but they can also bring stress and anxiety as we struggle to keep up with often-unrealistic demands and expectations.
That's why it is so important for all of us to relax and take good care of ourselves.
ACE's top tips for surviving the holidays are great for increasing your energy and reducing your stress, this season and all year long.
- Take time for yourself. Although spending time with friends and family is essential, it's also important to have at least five minutes to yourself to relax. Try practicing deep breathing exercise when you feel stressed out.
- Don't set unrealistic exercise goals. Aim to exercise 20 minutes a day instead of an hour. You'll be sure to get at least 20 minutes of exercise per day without feeling disappointed if you do not complete an hour.
- Enlist a friend or family member to exercise with you. Walking and talking with a friend can be a great way to burn extra calories and reduce your stress level.
- Create new, more active traditions. Instead of throwing a dessert or cocktail party, try snowshoeing or ice-skating as an alternate holiday event. Play powder puff football or build a snowman.
- Don't try to lose weight or stick to a restrictive diet this holiday season. If you enjoy your favorite foods in small portions, you'll feel more satisfied. Trying to stay away from certain foods may leave you feeling deprived, which may cause you to eat more than you intended to.
- Drink plenty of water. Although the cold weather may make you less inclined to grab a glass of water, it is just as important in the winter as it is during the summer. Water helps counter the dehydrating effects of travel or drinking alcoholic beverages, and it may also help satiate your appetite since thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
- Spread out meals. Don't feel like you have to eat everything at once. Try eating dinner early and then taking a walk before sitting down for dessert.
- Don't overdo it with alcohol or caffeine. These stimulants will only cause you more grief in the end by adding to your feelings of stress. Try drinking hot herbal tea instead of coffee, and keep the number of alcoholic drinks to a minimum.
- Don't aim for perfection, and enjoy the imperfections. There is no such thing as the perfect party or the perfect decorations or the perfect way to spend the holidays. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by placing unrealistic demands on yourself.
- Laugh. Laughing is a great tension reliever. It burns calories, reduces stress and usually means that you're enjoying yourself.