The holidays are a time of year that many people look forward to. With the colder weather, it's nice to curl up by the fire with family and friends, drink some hot cocoa, and watch your favorite holiday movies. However, for those who suffer from chronic pain or other illnesses, this can be quite difficult. It is important not to let stress get in the way of enjoying life during these times because that could lead to increased symptoms which only makes things worse! Here are five tips on how you can reduce stress during the holidays, according to the American Heart Association.
1. Keep up healthy habits
Make a pact with yourself during the holidays. For example, decide that you’ll move more and do something active every day over the next three weeks. Take it a step further, and pledge to start the day with a healthy breakfast, limit the sweets and get at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you don’t completely give up your healthy habits, you won’t feel like you have to start over once the holidays are over.
2. Beware of seasonal sweets
The holidays often dish up extra helpings of less-than-healthy treats. Try preparing healthy snacks that are ready to eat when the urge to snack strikes. If you’re hosting a holiday party, challenge yourself to make delicious and healthier options using our recipes and cooking tips.
3. Stay active
Instead of beating yourself up about missing a workout, sprinkle some healthy activities into your daily routine. For example, if the weather isn’t too frightful and you’re working from home, ride your bike around your neighborhood during a lunch break. If dinner is going to be a feast, opt for a light lunch, then take a vigorous walk. And keep the family moving. When the kids are home from school, squeeze in some active chores and trips to the park.
4. But not too active
Give yourself the gift of peace. If you need some down time to recharge, declare a “me-treat” and do something that relaxes you. Try yoga, meditation or spending time in nature.
5. Make a plan for the new year
Your poinsettia’s pooped and the gifts are all gone. Now what? It’s a great time to reset for the new year – but don’t go dashing through your to-do list too fast, or you might not stick to your plan. Lay out realistic, sustainable steps for the months ahead. For example, start a daily walking routine and sign up for a virtual Heart Walk before you set your sights on that marathon.
At Advanced Physical Medicine, our experienced physicians are here to help you live a pain-free life as safely as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our services.