Tips for Staying Physically and Mentally Healthy this Holiday Season

It’s very normal and common for people to experience feelings of anxiety and depression around the Holidays. The added stress of social gatherings, gift buying, extra time with extended family and even sentimental memories can bring on feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and worry.  Add in changes in your routine and diet, less sunlight, colder temperatures, travel and the potential inability to be with loved ones and this time of year can become quite overwhelming.  Read on for some tips on how to balance your physical wellness and mental health during the busy Holiday season.

Maintain your mental health by following some of these tips during the Holidays;

  • Try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible.  This is particularly important for children, as inconsistent and unpredictable bedtimes and eating schedules can impact their moods.
  • Practice mindfulness to remind yourself of the true spirit of the Holiday season.  Surround yourself with things that bring you joy or positive memories.  If you have children in your life, spend some time with them to remember the magic that this time of year can bring.  Seeing the world around us through the eyes of a child can bring such joy.
  • If you find yourself feeling sad or worried, allow yourself to experience these emotions before making efforts to let them go. Giving yourself permission to feel negative emotions actually makes it easier to then move on from them.

Take care of your physical wellness by keeping the following suggestions in mind:

  • Avoid overeating.  Keep tempting foods out of reach and choose what you are going to splurge on before the day of the meal, and then try and stick to it. Take small portions and just admit that you’ll have dessert at some point, so save room for it!
  • Stay physically active. Not only is it good for your body, physical activity improves mental health as well. So, take a break before dessert and walk around the block. A quick walk can help balance the extra food and drink, but also give you some much needed quiet time to yourself. Although it’s tempting to stay in the kitchen all day and eat before, after, and during meals, plan outings for the whole family.
  • Get enough sleep. Stress hormones in your body go up if you haven’t gotten enough sleep, and they drive you to crave higher calorie foods. So even though it’s tempting to stay up partying, make sure that you can sleep in long enough in the morning so that you feel rested for the day’s activities!

Comments and opinions from Dr. Silvia Romm and Lindsay Henderson, PsyD, alone. This is content from an interview and is not considered medical treatment. 

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