The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration. But even if you love this time of year, most of us can agree it can be hectic. The to-do list gets long, and your calendar fills up.

It’s so common for people to feel pressure around the holidays, whether from family members, social obligations, or end-of-the-year work commitments. You can start to feel like there isn’t enough time in the day. Suddenly all your normal healthy behaviors take a back seat, with promises to resume in January.

So how can you navigate these challenges and actually enjoy yourself? It starts with you. Self-care may be a slightly overused term these days, but it’s essential when it comes to holiday stress. Here are our top tips for taking care of yourself when holiday stress starts making you feel like the Grinch.

Practice Mindful Check-Ins

The first thing you can do is bring awareness to your body. How and where are you holding stress and emotions? This means not only being kind to yourself but also noticing when it feels like something isn’t quite right or that you’re feeling particularly stressed out about certain things.

Imbalances can show up in not-so-obvious ways. Maybe you are having a hard time falling asleep, or you wake up wired at 3 a.m., Or your shoulders feel like you’ve been lifting heavy weights when in reality, you haven’t been to your regular strength class in weeks. Even difficulty concentrating or irritability could be a sign that it’s time to take a step back.

As we know, stress impacts all areas of health. When the body is under stress, the HPA axis is activated, and cortisol levels rise. This can affect digestion and trigger an inflammatory response. Stress hormones can also make it challenging to maintain a healthy weight. When cortisol levels are high, it impacts the body’s ability to effectively regulate blood sugar and insulin, making it harder for you to lose weight.

So if you notice any changes in your body, try to find a stress relief technique that works for you. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation imagery, coloring pages, reading, or listening to calming music. It doesn’t matter what it is. It just has to work for you.

Move to Reduce Anxiety

Make time for exercise, even if it requires some creativity! It might feel like there’s not enough time, but even a simple lunchtime walk at work or going for a walk after dinner with family members goes a long way to boost mood and energy levels. Exercise is a known anxiety reducer. And science tells us that the benefits of exercise don’t just come from a single bout of exercise. You can split it into two or three sessions and still reap the rewards.

Plus, getting outside is a natural mood booster. Pairing exercise with fresh air releases feel-good neurotransmitters and endorphins that can help you feel calm.

Choose Nourishing Foods

Standing in front of the fridge at the end of the day when you are tired and hungry doesn’t always lead to the best choices. When we get busy, meal planning and prepping go out the window. Take-out becomes a go-to. Emotional eating also flares up around the holidays as a coping strategy to deal with negative feelings, loneliness, or stress.

But access to quick and easy good for you foods makes it easy to stay on track. You are so much less likely to make unhealthy choices if you already have healthy options waiting for you in your fridge. While we can’t take all the stress out of your holiday season, Daily Dose can help you make better food choices with our meal plans. Or maybe you like to cook, but just know you need a little support on the extra busy days. Our Market Menu items allow you to order what you need without committing to a meal plan. No prep or planning is required because we’ve done the work for you.

Navigate the Holidays with Resilience

Stress management looks different for all of us. There’s no way to completely avoid stress, but you can find the tools to become more resilient. Eating right, moving your body, and practicing mindful check-ins can all help you feel good so you can find joy in the holidays. And Daily Dose is here to support you, so you have one less thing to worry about, whether it’s food choices or finding the perfect gift for your best friend.

Tricia Williams

Tricia Williams is a talented Chef recognized as a leader in the fields of Nutrition and Holistic Health. Some years ago, Tricia founded Food Matters, a boutique, nutritionally-sound meal delivery service. Closely collaborating with her clients’ coaches, integrative physicians, and nutritionists, Tricia was able to successfully tailor meal plans that met both their taste preferences and their health goals.

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