Awareness and gratitude, Building self-care moments and Connecting with those you love will make enjoying the holidays elementary

By Sherry McAllister, DC

Ah, the holidays. That time of year when blood pressures elevate, stress levels reach their peak and our Hallmark Channel vision of spending time with family and friends is shattered by the cold, hard reality of too much to do in too little time. Throw in a surging global pandemic that adds even greater uncertainty to upcoming events and it is a wonder we don’t all wind up curled up in a ball surrounded by a mountain of peppermint stick wrappers.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make it through this holiday season feeling happy, healthy and filled with the holiday spirit if you follow these simple ABCs.

Awareness and Gratitude

In the holiday rush, with its seemingly endless to-do list, it’s easy to get overtaken by events to the point where you feel overwhelmed. That’s when you need to take some time to recall what the holidays are all about by reminding yourself to be aware of and grateful for all the wonderful things you currently have in your life.

Carve out a little time each day during November and December to spend some time reflecting on the beautiful things that are in your life. It not only helps you feel better, but a little self-reflection can help you learn valuable skills such as responding rather than reacting when something irritates you and remembering what’s important to you rather than getting caught up in the small things. This article outlines some additional benefits.

It’s also important to recognize that practicing gratitude isn’t just for the Thanksgiving table. Science shows it’s a great way to reduce stress, increase optimism and adopt a more positive attitude in your everyday life.

Build Self-Care Moments into Your Life

One of the challenges of the holidays is that most of us spend so much time doing things for others, or preparing to greet people in our homes, that we don’t take care of ourselves – especially if we feel like we’re falling behind. Taking care of yourself, however, is important – not just for your health but for your productivity, as well.

Self-care doesn’t require a huge investment in time or money. You can do simple activities such as taking five minutes for quiet reflection or meditation with a mantra like “I find abundance throughout my day.” Or you can eat some fresh vegetables or fruit (instead of those ever-present sweets) to keep you going when you don’t have time for a meal. Taking vitamins and carving out a little time to exercise (especially now that most shopping is done online) can brighten your spirits and help you ward off disease (among other benefits). It can even help you maintain strong relationships, particularly with those close to you.

Remember the instructions flight attendants give on commercial flights – put on your own oxygen mask before you try to help others. Self-care is your lifeline to staying well during the holidays.

Connect with Others

Despite all the hustle and bustle and the mythology around it, the holidays are often the time when many of us feel isolated or depressed. If you’re feeling out-of-sorts at all, that’s NOT the time to try to go at it alone.

First, make sure you’re connecting with family and friends on a regular basis. Especially right now during the pandemic when social isolation is common. Even if you can’t be there in person, just hearing a friendly voice or reminiscing about old times can offer a quick pick-me-up on a tough day.

Also be sure you’re connecting regularly with professionals who help you optimize your health, such as chiropractors, yoga instructors and massage therapists to name a few. The benefits of these interactions have been well-documented, and can go a long way toward relieving stress, improved health and enabling you to achieve a better overall frame of mind.

Destress to Remove Distress

Yes, the holidays can be a difficult, stressful time. But it’s not a requirement.

Use the strategies detailed here and you can finish the crazy year of 2020 on a strong note. Happy holidays everyone!

About the author:

Sherry McAllister, DC, is president of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress