Although coping with holiday stress can be, well, stressful, post-holiday blues are often even worse. The festivities are over, the bills are piling up and, because of over-indulgence, clothes may be feeling snug. There's nothing to look forward to, just cold gray days and nights of winter.
Whether the get-togethers and special foods sound like fun or an obligation, all the drinking, feasting and shopping can rapidly undermine your health, happiness and pocketbook.
So how do you create the holiday spirit of joy and peace and avoid the post-holiday doldrums?
Take Charge of Your Holiday from the Get-Go
During and after the holidays, emergency room visits and police reports reveal an increase in sickness, addiction, criminal craziness and psychological suffering for three main reasons.
- Physical demands get crazy. Shopping, social pressures, holiday preparation and overindulgence in unhealthy food and drink tend to get out of control. And exercise, rest and healthy eating, all good antidotes for stress and fatigue, take a back seat.
- Relationships are in your face. During the holidays relationships can be a double-edged sword. When families are thrust together for any length of time, things often get tense. But then again, missing loved ones is especially depressing during the holidays.
- Debt can go through the roof. Money problems are stressful any time of the year. And holiday overspending can cause financial debt to spiral out of control. This naturally causes increased feelings of stress, depression and hopelessness.
10 Tips to Avoid Holiday & Post-Holiday Blues
Here's what you can start doing this holiday season to make sure you "have yourself a merry little Christmas" and New Yearís Day Ė without any post-holiday blues:
1. Put yourself first. Rethink the holidays with your well-being in mind. Remember "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" Plan ahead and do what works best for you. And after itís all over and done, donít get annoyed or put pressure on yourself to feel 100% right away.
2. Eat healthy. Don't let the holidays become a dietary free-for-all. Overindulgence causes stress, which causes more overindulgence. Have an apple instead of apple pie. The more fat and sugar you eat, the more stressed youíll feel. And afterwards, take some time to detox.
3. Include omega-3. For a great natural mood booster, start taking omega-3 fish oil capsules during the holidays. You'll be nurturing your body, your mood and your sense of well-being.
4. Exercise regularly. Walking is one of the healthiest ways to boost your mood. If weather doesn't permit a walk, go to the mall and weave your way around the busy harried shoppers.
5. Rest and relax. Get plenty of sleep and make time for yourself. Take a leisurely walk. Listen to soothing music, clear your mind, slow your breathing and restore your inner calm.
6. Be realistic. Holiday traditions aren't engraved in stone. Hold on to those that work for you and get rid of the rest. You can always share yourself through pictures and e-mails.
7. Say "No." People will often accept you turning down invitations. If they don't, too bad. Only say "yes" to what you really want to do and you'll avoid feeling overwhelmed and resentful.
8. Stay on schedule. Most folks get out of sorts when their regular routines are disrupted. If you stray off schedule during the season, get right back-on-track as soon as possible.
9. Be positive. Forget about being perfect. Change whatever you can about the holidays and gracefully accept the rest. Above all, count your blessings. Gratitude can work wonders.
10. Pamper Yourself. Once the holidays are over, give yourself a break. You probably spent weeks taking care of decorations, guests and other peopleís needs -- now it's your turn!
Whether your holidays are the best of times or the worst of times is up to you. Follow these ten healthy holiday guidelines and youíll be able to enjoy the season more than ever before.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.