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The Gift of Self-Care this Holiday Season: Stress Less

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The Gift of Self-Care this Holiday Season: Stress Less

This guest post was written by Angie Kalousek Ebrahimi, a Blue Shield of California lifestyle medicine expert.

Your email is blowing up. The kids are fighting. Your calendar is filling up with holiday parties. The season is coming! Ahh, the holidays — filled with love and joy, but not enough hours in the day.

And sometimes big stress like illness or family conflict come into play. How can the “do it all” mom get through it all? Here are a few ground rules for surviving — and even enjoying — the holiday season.

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Breathe, laugh and go with the flow.

It’s OK if you’re late, the cookies aren’t perfect, and your daughter’s dress has a stain on it. Women often bear the lion’s share of responsibility for making the holidays perfect, but let’s be real. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree may be magazine-perfect, but mismatched ornaments on your family’s tree often provide the real magic. Take a breath. Embrace the mess and remember to be there in mind, body and spirit.

Grab a cookie and a carrot.

Before you sample the fudge and gingerbread cookies, don’t forget to pile on the greens. Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that help ward off illness and deliver energy to get through your day. They’ve even been shown to make you happier! And all that fiber helps you feel more satisfied so you won’t be inclined to overindulge on sweets. 

Take a hike — literally.

Step outside and walk around the block to destress and regain your fa-la-la. Exercise delivers endorphins that have a calming effect and provide a general feeling of contentment.

You can even incorporate exercise into your holiday celebrations. Bust out a fitness-focused video game or turn up the radio and have a dance-off with family and friends. You’ll get your heart rate up, relieve some stress and even burn some calories. And all you need are small blocks of time throughout your day to do it.

Get your gratitude on.

Practice with your family to focus on gratitude instead of gifts. Here are a few easy gratitude exercises. Before bedtime, write down three things you’re grateful for. Go out of your way to express gratitude to someone who has made a difference in your life. Plan for something after the holidays that you can look forward to. Remembering all your blessings can help the holiday season be truly jolly.

The holiday season takes our commitments to another level completely. We can change how we interact and how we react to all that we encounter. Place self-care at the top of your list. Embrace the joy and love, take some deep breaths and be truly present.

How will you take care of yourself this month?

 

Mandy_Enright_Headshot.jpgWritten by Angie Kalousek Ebrahimi, a Blue Shield of California lifestyle medicine expert. Read her bio here.