The 2021 holiday season is here – even though some holiday celebrations may have moved online, there is still a lot of planning that has to take place. It can be easy to lose track of the things that we do throughout the rest of the year that keep us healthy and happy.

Here are some tips to ensure you take care of yourself this holiday season

  • Continue exercising

Often times, people will skip their workout during the holidays. This may result in losing a very potent stress reliever. Rather than skipping workouts all together. Simply scale back if you find that you do not feel like doing your regular workout routine. Engaging in physical activity can help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, overall stress levels, and improve things like mood, concentration, and even sleep.

 

  • Get enough sleep

Nothing interferes more with mental and physical health as much as disrupted sleep. It can lead to irritability, additional stress, and even weight gain. People often disrupt their sleep schedule to stay up later during the holiday the season.

 

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your sleep is protected and is as restful as possible

– Cut back on caffeine and sugar for at least four hours before bed. These are stimulants that can keep you awake.

– Skip the naps, especially ones after large meals.

– Pass on the leftovers and sweets in the fridge for at least three hours before bed so that you are not kept awake by heartburn, indigestion, or sugar headaches.

 

  • Practice gratitude

Gratitude is another thing that can protect our brain from stress and depression. Research has shown that even thinking about the question, “What am I grateful for?” It can increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, even when you cannot think of an answer.

Practicing gratitude can be as simple as checking what you are grateful for each day. This can be done mentally or through a simple gratitude journal where you write down the things that you are grateful for.

 

  • Leave room for difficult feelings

The holidays can often be difficult times for many people, especially this year with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find yourself repeating habits that aren’t helping you. Try to take a step back to make sense of what may be going on. The more you try to make sense of your emotions and face them, the less scary they become.

 

  • Enjoy the present moment

One thing that really affects enjoying the holiday season is being wrapped up in the planning and implementation of the “perfect holiday experience” that you lose touch with the present.

 

Remember to take it easy and give yourself the space to open up and enjoy every moment as it happens. Do not forget to share smiles and laughs over that zoom call with family or friends, and enjoy every bite of that holiday meal.

 

If you are experiencing anxiety, our counsellors available 24/7 to assist you with any of your psychosocial needs. Give us a call on 080 001 4818.