For many of us, the holidays are the most stressful time of the year. Here are some tips to help fill this season with more joy and less panic.
- Hold the elevator door for someone. When you help a stranger with directions, unburden someone struggling to hoist groceries, or hold open the elevator door, you feel better, the person you helped feels great, and anyone observing your act of kindness is more likely to follow your example.
- Get busy; get active. The first half of the equation can be pretty easy this time of the year. The second can be more tricky. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can keep you from gaining weight and reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack by 30 percent! Plus your self-esteem soars. Don’t put off exercise until the first of the year.
- Practice saying “No.” No matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself. If you don’t, you’ll start to suffer from chronic stress. Stress can lead to an imbalance of your cortisol (“fight or flight” hormone) levels. Then your moods and energy de-stabilize. Learning to say “no” to some things can help you have energy for the things that matter most.
- Get more sleep. It’s a myth that as we age we need less sleep. Get between seven and eight hours of sleep a night and see the difference in your energy level and cognitive skills.
- Indulge in dark chocolate. Studies have shown that the antioxidant-rich compounds found in cocoa improve circulation. Dark chocolate has also been shown to boost your visual function and ability to detect motion direction dramatically. Plus, it tastes so good!
- Meditate. Meditation or prayer can help keep the season in proper perspective. In addition, it is a proven stress-buster and it also lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
- Be creative. Make up your own healthy goal. Do it for 30 days. It will help you feel empowered. It feels so good when you are the one making it happen!