5 Ways to Support Your Health this Holiday Season

There are always those subtle (and maybe not-so-subtle) signs that the holidays are upon us. The odd Christmas song playing in a store. The cold wind outside. Netflix showcasing more holiday movies. Although it feels as if summer was mere moments ago, here we are preparing to wrap up another year (and decade!) and indulging in all that the holidays have to offer. With multiple things on your to-do list this holiday season, it is important to remember the most vital thing:

Although the holidays are filled with joy and celebration for some, for others it can be a time of stress, sadness and overwhelm. In a lot of cases, it’s a mix of all these things. It may be hard to get time to yourself during the holidays, so here are a few tips you can use to squeeze in that much needed you-time or to help you manage the added pressure that this time of year can bring.

1) Self-care Routines
Routines are highly important all year round, but even more so at this time of year. Due to the many daily demands on us, it is easy to forgo our routines in favour of getting more done. However, try to make you
routines non-negotiable. Whether it is a morning/night routine, self-care practices, or time with people you love, be sure to make these things a priority. Your mental well-being will thank you!

2) Breathing
When we are in a rush or stressed, we often forget to take deep breaths. Deep breathing practices can instantly bring about a sense of calm because they activate your parasympathetic or rest/digest part of your nervous system. This part of our nervous system is often not activated because we tend operate more from a stressed state. Take 5 deep belly breaths or use the 4-7-8 method of breathing: 4 counts of breath in, hold for 7 counts and exhale for 8 counts. Repeat until you feel more grounded. Doing this practice with a bit of lavender essential oil on the hands can bring about a whole other level of calm.

3) Nourishment
When the holiday season comes around, it is much more tempting to forget about healthy eating habits and over-indulge. Some indulging is okay. I mean, you have to enjoy yourself! If you have known sensitivities or issues with particular foods, try not to go overboard or make sure you have healthy and enjoyable alternatives so you don’t end up eating something that will make you feel not-so-great later on. There are so many alternative options nowadays, especially for desserts and holiday treats, so it is much easier to find something you can still enjoy.

4) Meditation
Meditation can be an amazing way to ground, connect and give yourself some time in the day that is just for you. It can be difficult to sit in silence and meditate if it is not something you are used to. Starting slow with manageable chunks of time is the best way to get into it. If you prefer guided meditations, some great apps include Calm, Breathe or Insight timer. One of our favourite U-tube guided meditations is this 30-min body scan by Jon Kabat-Zinn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15q-N-_kkrU

5) Schedule yourself in
Sometimes you just have to schedule yourself in your calendar. Whether it’s for workouts, time for yourself or wellness appointments, your calendar can be your best friend. Most people are more likely to stick to something if it is scheduled in and blocked off. This includes things like appointments with your naturopathic doctor, massage therapist or counsellor. Don’t forget that if you have extended health benefits, this is the best time to utilize this resource since many plans re-set at the beginning of the year. They are there to support you and help you be your best self. And if the holiday season is a bit tough for you, remember that you are not alone. Reach out to someone whether it is a friend, family or a practitioner.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Holidays from your team at Serenity Health!

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