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A Parents Guide to Reducing Holiday Stress
Author : Carolyn Eagle, Senior Editor, Health Media Today Category : Health and Wellness
No matter what you celebrate, December is for many of us the busiest time of the year. As a parent, we are usually kept hopping but the demands of the holiday can start to add up if we don’t actively try to keep things in check. Here are some great tips to help parents get through the holidays with their sanity and health intact.
Get Lots of Sleep
Designate a couple of nights where you get yourself to bed early. Tuck yourself in right after you tuck the kids in. Yes, the wrapping, baking, dirty dishes, laundry, will all be there in the morning but you will feel so much more capable of tackling it with a solid night’s sleep under your belt. Remember what it feels like to wake up refreshed.
Don’t Over Commit
It’s okay to say ‘no’ if you’re up to your eyeballs in holiday party invites. Or, maybe divide and conquer with your significant other. Are there events that one of you can attend without the other? Take turns giving each other a break. If the kids have been invited to an ice skating party and a birthday party this month (yes, the dreaded December birthday), flip a coin. Be honest with yourself. If you’re dreading going and it’s going to sap your time and energy (and maybe your wallet) then beg off.
Be Realistic About How Much You Can Accomplish
Do you find yourself baking, decorating, making your own Christmas wrapping paper and a full Santa village from gingerbread? If you don’t have the time, or the thought of it stresses you out, just don’t do it. Buy a hostess gift instead of making one. A lovely flavoured olive oil or some rubs and spices for the hostess are always something that is appreciated because it can be used long after the holidays. If you feel like you just had to sign up for the office cookie exchange, then go to a bakery and buy some really lovely cookies or biscotti. Pick up gift bags from the dollar store. You can get amazingly attractive ones these days and they’re practical and reusable. Buy the gingerbread house kit from the Bulk Barn, some dollar store icing tubes and let the kids go to it.
Eat As Healthy As You Can
There is nothing like the smell and taste of certain foods around the holiday to evoke memories of our childhood and it’s natural to want to indulge. When we were kids, it was one more gingerbread cookie or latke. Now, it’s another bite of baked brie or glass of wine. I am certainly never going to be one to preach abstinence around the holiday season, but I will tell you to listen to your body’s signals now, more than ever. Maybe that tired, dragged out feeling has less to do with lack of sleep and more to do with your increased intake of refined sugars, alcohol, and lack of leafy greens during the festivities. Green beans don’t really count if they’re baked in a casserole with mushroom soup and a crunchy topping. Try to maintain a little balance in your diet through these busy times. Have veggie soup and a salad for lunch if you’re going to an after work cocktail party. Bake yourself some salmon for dinner if you’ve been to a Meet Santa breakfast full of pancakes and bacon. Whatever you do, never go to a party or any other holiday event hungry, not just because you will be tempted to do a face plant into the pate, but because you will be able to resist grabbing whichever decadent offering comes your way, and save your taste buds for you those treats you truly long for.
Get Some Exercise
Even if you have a regular exercise routine, the busy weeks around the holidays make it easy to skip your work outs. Instead of feeling guilty, find other ways to stay active that revolve around the holidays. Take the kids skating or just go for a walk around the neighbourhood to look at the decorations. Dash out on your lunch break and do some window shopping or park farther away from the mall entrance. End your day with some soothing yoga and consider the time you spent scrubbing the house before the descent of the in-laws your workout for the day. Just because you’re not using weight machines and an elliptical machine doesn’t mean you didn’t get any exercise for the week. Trimming the tree, cleaning the house, shoveling the snow (or raking leaves), and hiking around the mall are all tiring for a reason! Keep stretching whenever you can and you should be ready to resume your regular routines come January.