Thursday, December 19, 2013

CHEER up this holiday season

By Lindsay Drysdale
Healthy Workplace Engagement Coordinator
Rouge Valley Health System

The holidays seem to sneak up on us and suddenly you’re stressing to get things done while trying to keep some semblance of balance.  It’s easy to get burned out this time of year, but with a little planning, stress can be managed.  To help you master the holiday madness, remember to CHEER up! Here are some tips on how to keep your sanity this holiday season:

1.     Create a budget. When it’s time to get your holiday shopping done, start with making a budget. Know exactly how much you plan to spend and stick to it. Create a shopping list in advance so you can avoid impulse purchases, and consider placing your shopping money and list in an envelope (tucked somewhere safe, of course) so you can keep track of your spending.

2.     (Ask for) Help. You’re only one person – you can’t expect to do everything yourself! Write a list of tasks and chores that need to be completed and divide them among your family.  Hosting a get-together? Make it a potluck!  Asking each guest to bring a dish gives you less to worry about and also eases the strain on your wallet. 

3.     Eat healthy.  It’s okay to indulge, but sometimes we use the holidays as an excuse to overdo it.  Eating in moderation is important, so have a healthy snack before you leave the house to avoid temptation later. And if you go out to eat, opt for a salad over fries, and skip dessert. When grabbing a treat, pick something with nuts for protein, or dark chocolate for antioxidants. Between all the sweets and carbohydrates, try snacking on some “super foods” like berries, rooibos or green tea, tomatoes, etc. to give your immune system the extra boost to help fend off stress and illness.

4.     Exercise. You can still make time to be active despite the cold weather and holiday madness! Grab a buddy and go for walk, take the kids skating, or try climbing the stairs twice when going between floors at work. Active living doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym; activity can be in 10-minute gaps throughout the day and planning your time in advance will help you stick to your goals. It’s also a great way to relieve stress!

5.     Relax.  Whether it’s reading a book, exercising, baking or watching a movie, do something every day that is just for you.  If you’re feeling burned out, reach out to your family or friends and ask for their support.  Their help will make it easier for you to find a few minutes to breathe. Taking time for yourself will relieve stress and keep your mental fitness in check.

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