As the holidays approach, our lives often get busier. You may be cleaning and decorating your home for your family or friends to visit. You may spend extra time and money to find all of your grandchildren special gifts or cook your children’s favorite foods.
On the flipside, the holidays may cause stress because the twinkle-light filled days remind you of someone missing from your life. Sometimes traditions can be painful to keep. Sometimes time with family is difficult. While you cannot eliminate stress from your life, you can make choices to manage it and enjoy better health.
Managing health becomes more important as we age, and seniors in particularly should take extra care to reduce the stress that may come during the holiday season. Consider these ways to live healthier during the holidays:
- Walk in the sunshine. During winter it can be tempting to hibernate from cold air and brisk winds. However, sunshine helps our bodies to metabolize Vitamin D (just 15 minutes a day makes all the difference) and lift our moods. Check out these other reasons to get more sunshine as the days grow shorter.
- Remember that you don’t have to make everyone happy. During the holidays, we all can slip into people-pleasing habits, overextending ourselves financially and emotionally. Instead, remember that it’s fine to say no sometimes and to be intentional with your time and energy and still love others well.
- Turn to heart-healthy treats when you crave something sweet. It’s hard to avoid sugar this time of year, especially when you feel stressed. You shouldn’t need to deprive yourself of all treats. By tweaking traditional dishes or finding new favorites, you can turn something sweet into something a bit healthier. Check out these recipes from the American Heart Association for inspiration.
- Take deep breaths. Believe it or not, when we are stressed we sometimes forget to breathe deeply. According to Harvard Health, “Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange … Not surprisingly, this type of breathing slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure.” Check out this technique for abdominal breathing.
- Focus on what brings you joy. Keeping a gratitude journal makes a difference because of all of its benefits. Changing focus can help change your outlook.
- Get ready for a healthier new year. December is a great time to make appointments — like your wellness visit — for January. Make resolutions to get more rest and eat healthier. Begin 2020 with goals to be your best in the new year.
From our team at Brandermill Woods, may your holidays be merry and bright. Here’s to a healthy New Year, too!