holiday health imageThe holidays can be an exciting time as people cover their doorsteps with festive décor in anticipation for parties and events. Despite how it appears, this holiday hubbub can be downright too demanding when balancing gift purchasing, family get-togethers, work and more. You may find yourself indulging in unhealthy habits that were incited by your lack of energy and additional stress. However, the holidays don’t have to be so overwhelming! Use these tactics to stay healthy during times of extra holiday anxiety.

Holiday Stressors and How to Handle Them

Much of the stress you’re feeling is made more intense by the busy holiday season, which can make it challenging to regroup and maintain your health. Knock these unhealthy habits off your list and regain control by following these three tips.

  1. Combat Holiday Stress Eating: When stress strikes, your adrenal glands activate and release a chemical called cortisol. This chemical increases your appetite, which is not exactly ideal when you’re surrounded by delicious holiday foods. Fight back by first acknowledging the issue that is bothering you. Are you feeling tired, sad or stressed? Differentiate those feelings from hunger each time. To avoid eating your feelings, try meal prepping and setting a day designated for cooking. This gives you the power to make healthier food options before your work week.
  2. Get Plenty of Sleep: Still tossing and turning in bed at night? You’re not alone. A majority of adults struggle with lack of sleep due to stress and anxiety. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to get you in the mood for sleeping and avoid watching TV or any other blue screens before going to bed. Blue light has the ability to disrupt our circadian rhythm, so it is best to read a book instead. Skip stimulants like chocolate, caffeinated soda, coffee and nicotine in the evening to help improve your sleep pattern, too.
  3. Wash Your Hands: Did you know you’re more susceptible to the flu and the common cold if you’re stressed? Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh suggests that people under psychological stress are more likely to catch a cold when exposed to a virus than people under milder stress so help yourself and others by thoroughly washing your hands more often than usual.

After regaining control of your unhealthy habits, you should find your stress will lighten and you can better enjoy this festive time of year.