STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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Holiday shopping:

Shop early when there is more of a selection. Ask people what they want instead of trying to find perfect gifts. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. So set a budget and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much.


Here are some helpful ways to lessen holiday stress and feel more optimistic about the season.


Volunteer.

Find a local charity such as a shelter that needs volunteers and offer to help. Or participate in community giving tree or adopt-a-family programs. Helping others can lift your mood and help you overcome your struggles with stress.


Take out time for yourself.

You may feel pressured to be everything to everyone, but remember you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do. Others will benefit when you’re feeling less stressed. Take

STRESS AND THE HOLIDAYS

HARLEENA SINGH

Harleena Singh is a professional freelance writer with a background in teaching and education. She has a keen interest in food and health related issues and can be approached through her website freelancewriter.co. Checkout her blog and network with her on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

more articles by harleena singh

out time to do things that give you joy. Go for a long walk; get a massage; take time to listen to your favorite music; or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries. Be mindful and focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.


Be realistic and open.

If your children’s wish list is outside your budget, talk to them about sensible expectations and remind them the holidays aren’t about expensive gifts. Remember what’s important: your loved ones, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food. Focus on what you and your family have in common. Plan activities you can do together that foster fun and laughter, such as playing a game together or looking through old photo albums.


Keep a regular sleep, meal and  exercise schedule.

Limit your alcohol. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays. Meditate or do some relaxation breathing. Exercise and other types of physical activity stimulate the production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are brain chemicals that function as a natural painkiller. They can trigger positive feelings in the body, boosting mood and reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.


Learn to say no.

Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.


If the tips above are not helpful and you are still feeling stressed and overwhelmed, consult a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional – someone who can help you identify problem areas and develop an action plan for changing them.


Sources and Resources


A recent Stress in America survey showed 24 percent of American adults report extreme stress, and more than one-third of adults report their stress increased over the past year. Stress and the holidays seem to go hand in hand. Your busy schedule becomes even busier with preparations and celebrations. People who already feel extreme stress may find the holiday season to be an added challenge. Instead of dreading the stress that lies ahead, try viewing the holidays as an opportunity to enhance your psychological well-being. Here are a few examples for a holiday stress-prevention list:


Planning family get-togethers:

Ask others to bring their favorite dishes. Cook and freeze foods ahead of time. Buy prepared foods instead of cooking everything from scratch. Don’t spend all your time planning activities for your family. You might end up feeling drained and unappreciated.