When you think of the holidays, you likely imagine exchanging gifts, baking cookies, and spending time with family and friends. The season is a joyous one, though the hustle and bustle can also be stressful. But The Calli Institute has some tips to help relieve the tension that many people experience this time of year. Learn ways to cultivate gratitude and discover happiness during the holidays.

Develop Practical Routines

Healthy habits are important for maintaining overall well-being all year round. Developing and implementing practical routines is especially important during the holidays, as the familiarity and comfort of a recognized activity can help put your mind and body at ease.

  • Make time for exercise. Staying active can improve both your physical and emotional well-being. Pop in a fitness DVD, head to the gym, or go for a walk. A brisk walk around the neighborhood can do wonders for your energy level and mood.
  • Eat healthy foods. Many favorite holiday menu items, snacks, and treats are rich, sugary, high in fat, or all the above. Enjoy these tasty selections in moderation, and be sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in your diet. Also, remember to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water has been shown to improve mood and energy levels.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can increase anxiety symptoms, so try to limit your holiday cocktails or avoid alcohol altogether.

Be in the Moment Through Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness throughout the year can help you relax and stay centered, which is even more beneficial during the holiday season. When you are in the moment, you can better recognize feelings of stress and anxiety. Then — through breathing, guided imagery, or other techniques — you can control and reduce those feelings to regain your peace.

If you’re looking for ways to practice mindfulness, we’ve got a few ideas.

  • Meditate. Spend a few minutes alone each day in a quiet room. Be still, acknowledging how you are feeling, and focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing. If you’re having trouble meditating on your own, there are many websites and apps for your smartphone that provide guided meditations. Check out the Stop, Breathe & Think app or The Honest Guys on YouTube.
  • Set expectations. Don’t just set expectations but keep them realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect, and it’s important to remind yourself of that.
  • Be in the moment. Slow down. Acknowledge your feelings. Take a deep breath. Be aware of what’s happening right now and be present in the moment. Try not to worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week or next year.

Cultivate Gratitude

When we are grateful for and focus on the things we have, we retrain our brains to look for the good, the positive. Studies have shown that people who express gratitude are happier, which helps lower stress levels and depression. Additionally, people who cultivate gratitude often feel healthier and tend to get better sleep. When the mind is relaxed, the body is relaxed.

Make an effort to focus on the positive things in your life to guide your thoughts away from the negative. A quick and easy way to practice gratitude is to write down three things each day for which you are thankful. Give it a try and see how it can improve your outlook.

Other Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Here are a few more quick tips to help alleviate some of the stress around the holidays:

  • Avoid crowds by shopping early or online.
  • If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, talk to someone you trust.
  • Don’t feel guilty for saying no; you’re not expected to attend or participate in every event.
  • Take some time for yourself.

Find ways to prevent or lessen levels of holiday stress so that you can enjoy this festive season with family and friends.

Reach Out to Us

We hope these tips can help you discover happiness during the holidays, but we also understand that it can be a difficult or stressful time. If you need someone to listen or to lean on, the team at The Calli Institute is always here and can help guide you toward the balanced level of wellness you deserve.

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