Event-full of holidays including Dawali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year, the Winter Holiday Season is a time of generous festivity, excessive activity and, all too often, great anxiety. While it’s widely known as “the most wonderful time of the year,” studies show that this time of year—full of family and work obligations, holiday parties, party planning, so much eating and oh-so much shopping—can also be the most stressful, causing many of us to feel overwhelmed, out-done, run-down, resentful and even depressed. It is important to note that for those who do not have the “traditional” family or community support that we see on TV and in films, this time of year can be a painful reminder of not fitting into that “Happy Holidays” mold. And all of this is only compounded by the fact that wintertime is generally the coldest and darkest time of year, which can weaken our immune system and put a damper on our holiday spirit.

With all this in mind, our Health In Hands family would like to offer you a few ways to keep calm and holiday on—with more joy this season.

Make a Holly Jolly Holiday List

As the holiday song goes, “he’s making a list and checking it twice,” and, all sleigh rides aside, making a holiday to-do list is a surefire way to minimize stress surrounding the season as it helps you organize your thoughts and put a plan into action. This list will undoubtedly contain multiple categories; everything from your various shopping lists to all the errands you must run, however it should also include things like “30 minutes of quiet time”, “take a 15-minute walk” or “schedule my next healing massage”. Scheduling in your downtime and self-care rituals is a proactive way to prevent holiday burnout or a meltdown of Frosty the Snowman proportions. And with a calmer mind, you can relax and have a jolly good time!

Have Fa-la-la-la-FUN Throughout the Process

Remember that this holiday season is one of peace, love and joy to the world. Of course, we know this, nonetheless it is easy to get caught up in the holiday hype of consumerism, consumption and competition and forget what truly matters most. (And it ain’t being the first in line to get the latest video game or gadget.) Additionally, if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, it can be even harder to keep your head up and smile through the season. Since the holidays are a time of togetherness, it is a prime time to reach out to friends, family, co-workers and loved ones. Be honest and let them know how you’re feeling instead of keeping it to yourself. Then, have fun! Sounds simple, right? If you’re thinking, “who has time for fun, I have so much to get done?!” go back to your “holly jolly” holiday list and add fun activities to the list like game, movie or date nights, baking cookies, anything that makes you laugh—or just make time to do absolutely nothing. Put it on the calendar and stick to it, for making FUN a part of your busy holiday schedule will help you get more DONE.

Celebrate Self-Care with Holiday Cheer

Self-care is not selfish, self-absorbed or even self-indulgent; it is the foundation of your overall health and wellbeing, preventing illness by bolstering your immune system and allowing you to be the best version of yourself. When you put your health first, through healthy eating habits (in between the many holiday meals) and even a few precious moments of exercise you enjoy, mindful meditation or therapeutic massage—especially during the holiday season—you are aligning yourself with the holiday cheer and good tidings that are all around you. You can then be a jollier giver and receiver! And speaking of giving, since this is also the season of giving, what better way to spread that holiday cheer than by giving the gift of a Health In Hands massage membership or gift card to yourself and a loved one? You literally will be giving the gift that keeps on giving by keeping you calmer, uplifted, less bloated and more joyful into the New Year—and all year long.

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