“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Or is it?
Yes, the holiday season can be magical — with all of its dazzling displays of lights, parades, festive parties and fun family gatherings. But it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year, when Christmas shopping is unfinished, budgets get blown and out-of-town guests overstay their welcome.
Furman University Associate Professor of Psychology Cinnamon Stetler says it’s unrealistic to think you can eliminate all holiday stress.
“If you don’t have any stress, you’re not really engaging with life,” she says. “You should try to keep stress to a minimum, but it will not be something you can eliminate entirely.”
The key to managing stress is to recognize it and work to minimize it so it doesn’t overwhelm, according to Stetler.
Here are five ways to cope with holiday stress. Continue reading
Eat less; move more; live longer. Those words are the mantra of this blog. I realize that they are also easier said than done especially at this time of year – holiday season.
We seem to be hard-wired to celebrate by eating. Maybe it goes back to the time we had to hunt for our food. When we managed to kill something edible that was reason for celebration and we did. We ate our fill because we didn’t know when our next meal would be. But, times have changed and a trip to a supermarket is enough to feed an entire family for a week. So there is no need to eat till we are bursting at any single meal or event.
The holidays are a particularly trying time. There are various family celebrations along with parties at friends and neighbors. Each is a special form of temptation that we have to deal with.
I think one of the most important concepts to keep in mind in the holiday season is that weight control is a lifetime job. You can’t do it one day and then forget about it, or worse, celebrate by binge-ing on sweets as soon as you lose a pound or two. You also cannot wreck your progress in one day any more than you can solve your weight problem in one day. Think of it as a long continuum. Most importantly, during the holidays, don’t get down on yourself and wallow in guilt because you overdid it on one occasion. The damage from that is much worse than just an extra pound or two. Guilt hurts your heart and makes a positive outlook more difficult.
If you carry the sense of continuum with you in the holiday season, it may help you to steer an even keel through these difficult seas. First, when you are at a party with ‘a spread,’ snack on the carrots instead of the chips. You can work on filling your belly that way and not jam in a bunch of empty calories. Second, if you do overindulge try to eat light the next day. Give your system a chance to reset and find normality. Remember the continuum. Strive for balance. Third, keep portion sizes in mind. You can enjoy the taste of something without eating a plate full of it.
Finally, keep active. Don’t let your exercise program slip. Two reasons: It will help you to burn excess calories and your body needs to work every day. Use it or lose it is the irrefutable law of the body.
I hope this helps you to enjoy the holidays a little more and feel a little less guilty about your eating.