How to be Healthy, Happy and Relaxed during the Holiday Season

December 15th, 2011

1). Spend some time outdoors in the sun. It stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which impacts millions of Americans every year.

 2). Breathe in the smell of citrus.  Certain citrus fragrances, such as lemon, orange or grapefruit, boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. Get pure organic essential oils and diffuse them in your home. Or put a few drops on a cotton ball and keep in a baggy in your purse and breathe in the fragrance throughout the day.

 3). Take a walk. The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep. Try to do a brisk, half-hour walk every day.

 4). Learn to say no. It’s easy to overextend yourself in the holiday season in order to please everybody. However, it is important to take care of yourself. Eliminate the activities and social events that you really do not want to participate in but are doing so only out of obligation. You will be happier and have more energy for the activities that you really do enjoy.

 5). Stick with your daily health routines. Eat regular healthy meals, exercise and try to get 7 to 8 hours sleep a night. Do not skip breakfast in order to save calories for a party later that night. When you are eating regular healthy meals throughout the day, you will feel satisfied and not be temped to over do it with empty calories found in refined carbohydrates and sugar. Make exercise a priority especially during the holiday season. This will help you release stress and increase endorphins the feel good hormones, as well as boost your immune system.

 6). Turn off your cell phone. Constant cell phone buzzes and email alerts keep us in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode due to bursts of adrenaline. Not only is this exhausting, but it contributes to mounting stress levels. Enjoy being relaxed and present while spending time with your family and friends.

 7). Slow down and be mindful. With so many activities, social events, gift shopping, cooking and friends and relatives visiting; it’s easy to get off center. Try to be mindful by being present to and paying attention to where you are and what you are doing each moment, rather than resisting the situation and wanting to be somewhere else. When you find your mind frantically racing back to all the things you still have to do or wishing you were somewhere else, take a few slow deep breaths and bring yourself back to the present moment and what is happening right now where you are. Keep at it. Repetition of this exercise will eventually make it easier to do and you will be able to remain calm and at peace even in the midst of chaos or challenging situations.

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