Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza, the holidays can be a great time of joy for many. But for others, they are filled with anxiety and stress. Sometimes, even for those that love the family get-togethers, the stress of holiday shopping, finances, and hosting relatives can tear them apart. Let’s talk about ways to stop stress eating during the holidays and enjoy the happy activities and time with your family.
When stress hits at this time of year, it’s easy to turn to that tray of cookies for moral support. After all, cookies won’t criticize you about your life choices the way your family will.
But that’s not healthful … and you know it. Plus, you’ll feel even less joy when you realize you’ve undone this year’s hard work toward wellness. If you find the holidays cause you to gobble down more than you should as a way to cope with the stress, I am offering you these tips for curbing the stress eating before the first tray of cookies is introduced.
Some Tips To Help You Stop Stress Eating
When your boss announces there are no bonus checks this Christmas or a family member brings up a tender subject, instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, get outside in the fresh air for a walk, hit the gym, chase your kids in the yard, or just do something physical that appeals to you. You’ll release the stress and the exercise will help release the proper chemicals in your brain to make you feel better.
Workout your mind
Your brain needs exercise too! Instead of allowing your mind to dwell on the negative things that push you toward those cookies, give your mind something constructive to do. Take 10 to 20 minutes to yourself to read something you want to read, work on a crossword puzzle or do something else that stimulates your mind in an enjoyable way. Sudoku anyone? It will help you feel refreshed.
Focus on healthful eating
While it’s true that the holidays are certainly a time for more indulgent meals, when you focus on your healthful eating prior to those big family dinners, it won’t be such a shock to your waistline. Make sure you’re eating meals as you would normally without skipping them. If you starve yourself all day because your job or your family (or both!) is making you nuts, you’re more prone to stuffing yourself at dinner with things that aren’t very healthful.
Yes, there are certainly foods we only get to enjoy during this time of year like holiday cookies, candies and cakes. But again, eating all of them isn’t going to do any good. So indulge mindfully and moderately to stop stress eating during the holidays. If you always look forward to your sister’s famous pecan pie, then focus on eating that when the time comes and say no to treats that aren’t as delicious.
No one is perfect so if you find you caved into peer pressure at work and ate treats you promised yourself you wouldn’t, forgive yourself and move on. Get back on track with the next food choice and get moving on your exercise. But above all, keep your head up and your focus positive. You can choose not to fall prey to holiday stress. because that is the key to getting through the stress of the holiday season.
For more ideas on pressing the pause button, visit the Pursue Wellness Facebook page for a series of live videos.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas!