The holidays are upon us! Excitement, joy, and, dare we say it… stress. Few things in life can create such instant internal contradictions as the holidays. Here are a few tips that Joe did himself. They are tried and true.
We talk all the time about the importance of sleep. It’s even more essential during times of stress. Sleep is when your brain cleans and repairs itself. Stress increases the amount of cleaning necessary. Skimping on sleep causes your brain to age prematurely! So how do you protect your sleep with family in town? Set clear boundaries. Let the visiting family know exactly when you go to sleep ahead of time so you don’t get stuck watching “just one more” Christmas movie.
2. Eat WELL
The holidays are when we throw caution and common sense to the wind. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating or even indulging a little this time of year. However, the issue is when we do it more than once or twice. Are you grabbing fast food because you need to buy that last present? Did you eat half the Christmas cookies rather than dinner while frantically cleaning the house? Maybe you opted for pie for breakfast? We’ve all done it, but these little decisions add up fast! The older we get, the more quickly our bodies let us know when we’ve messed up. So this year, stock up on good apples and protein bars for when you can’t eat a proper meal. That way, when you finally DO let loose on Christmas, it won’t be the umpteenth time you’ve given in.
It doesn’t have to be over the top. Go for a long walk. Do push-ups when you get out of bed. Do some lunges down the hall. Stretch. Pull up an exercise or yoga routine on Youtube and follow along. Joe learned a phrase long ago that always helps him to stay motivated: “FEELING FOLLOWS ACTION.” Don’t let your feelings master you! Choose to exercise, and your feelings will fall in line behind you!
You can’t do everything.
And trying to is a great way to ramp up the stress when you inevitably fail and end up feeling like you’ve disappointed everyone.
Prioritize. Pick what’s most important — first things first. Make a list of everything you want and need to do. Once you have it all written down, write a “1” next the single most important thing, a “2” after that, and so on. That way, if you only do ONE thing, you know you’ve done what was most important.
Speaking of “first things first,” prayer should be at the top of the list!
This one is straight from Joe:
“All day, every day. Quick prayers (Thank God for a heater that works!). Dinner prayers. Driving on ice prayers. All of the prayers!”
You must set aside time to listen as well. Is it possible that God might like a moment with you in the midst of all of this? Don’t forget to just sit and be in His presence this Christmas season. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, but there’s a reason we all think of that. Getting your day started right is a perfect example of proper prioritization: even if the rest of the day goes down in flames, you did what was MOST important first.
Relax! Enjoy time with family and friends! Eat sugar! Do all the things, but do it all without the “holiday-stress-hangover.”
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year from the entire team!
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