Getting through the holidays can be challenging. Between family obligations, food temptations, and the desire to have everything turn out perfect, we are often stressed. The Sklar Center has suggestions to help you take care of yourself so that you can get the most joy. So, slow down, use our suggestions, and enjoy the season.
1) DON’T BURN THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS: Turn off the TV, computer, smart phone, video games by 10 pm. You need your sleep, and the best time is 9 pm to 9 am. Sleep is when you make human growth hormone—your renewal and healing hormone.
2) GET A MASSAGE: While you are getting presents for all those people in your life, consider giving yourself a present. Massage lowers stress hormone (cortisol) levels. So, you not only feel better, you have changed your physiology and improved your health.
3) GRATITUDE: Express gratitude to yourself and your loved ones. In the rush to accomplish everything at the holidays, we may forget the real reasons for celebrating. Expressing gratitude is good for your health.
Try these gratitude exercises:
- Keep a daily journal of three things that you are thankful for. This works well first thing in the morning or just before you go to bed.
- Make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner or friend something you appreciate about them every day.
- Look in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth, and think about something you have done well recently or something you like about yourself. Studies show improved sleep, increased sense of well-being, less illness and more happiness when we express gratitude.
4) TAKE A TIME OUT: Try this simple exercise: sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Take deep breaths through your nose to a slow count of five. Allow your abdomen to expand as you fully fill your lungs. Exhale the breath through your mouth to a slow count of five. Do this 15 times. You will feel rejuvenated, and it takes less than five minutes.
5) MIND YOUR DIET: The Holiday season provides us with an excuse to eat out of control. Help yourself stay in control by eating small, protein-based (fish, chicken, turkey) meals every 3-4 hours. Your blood-sugar levels will stay more level resulting in less carbohydrate and sweet cravings. Have a small protein snack or protein shake before going to a party. You will be less likely to gorge on sweets and carbs. Also, your mood and energy will improve. Limit alcohol so that you can stay on top of your eating plan. Alternate one or two glasses of water with each alcoholic one. Eat the healthy choices at the buffet first so that you are less hungry when it comes time to consider the less healthy ones. Bring your own healthy potluck dish to a gathering so that you know there is at least one thing to help you maintain your eating plan.
6) PLAN AND VISUALIZE: This suggestion is from one of our patients. She visualizes what the buffet or party table will look like, and then plans how she is going to approach it. Practice in your mind just like athletes do. It improves performance.
7) GET HELP FROM SUPPLEMENTS: The New You Stress and Appetite Control helps to lower cortisol levels to decrease cravings. It also helps sleep. Other helpful supplements are Endotrim which also helps to decrease cravings by controlling blood-sugar fluctuations.
8) LEARN TO SET LIMITS: Learning to say “no” is important to preserving your health and well-being. Emotional demands affect your health by causing an imbalance of vital hormones. This can result in feeling fatigued and unhappy. Make a list of people who drain you of energy and leave you exhausted. Think of ways to set limits with them. First, reassure them of their importance in your life, but then let them know that you need to take better care of yourself, and ask them for their understanding and help in doing it.
Have a wonderful holiday season!