We’ve got a lovely guest blog here from Alexis Hall – a single mom to three kids. She created singleparent.info to provide support and advice for the many families out there with only one parent in the household.
Alexis works as an in-home health nurse. When she isn’t working or spending time with her kids, she enjoys running and hiking and is currently training for a triathlon.
When you were a kid, the holidays meant time off from school, presents, and maybe the occasional snowfall.
As an adult, the holidays can mean something very different.
Many people start to feel anxious as December approaches.
Financial strain, social obligations, and other factors make this time of year difficult for some. If you are prone to anxiety or feel stressed out by the holidays, try these helpful tips to make it through the season and into January.
Break a Sweat
Just about every physician you ever meet will recommend adding exercise to your lifestyle in order to combat stress and anxiety. Exercising gives you a chance to do something for yourself every day where you can be focused and expel the tension that builds up in your body when you are stressed. The endorphins released when you exercise give you a temporary mood boost that can help you deal with particularly stressful days, but with time, it also helps improve your mood overall.
Soak Up the Sun
During the shorter days of winter, many people become deficient in vitamin D. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Muscle soreness
- Weakened immunity
- Thinning hair
- Loss of bone density
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Increasing the amount of sunlight you absorb daily is the best way to keep your vitamin D levels up at a healthy level. Some people use supplements and sun lamps to help with seasonal depression and other symptoms throughout the winter. If you think you may suffer from vitamin D deficiency, have your doctor run a blood test and discuss the best course of action for you.
Take Time Out to Relax
Taking a little bit of time out of your day, every day, is important for managing holiday anxiety. There are many things you can do during this time, the simplest being meditation and intentional breathing. All meditation takes is a comfortable place to sit and some deep breaths. Your meditation time can take up as little as three minutes, or you can try and go as long as you can — whatever fits best into your schedule works.
Another option for relaxation is spending time with your pet. It is scientifically proven that pets help reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Take your dog to the park and enjoy the crisp winter air, or stay home and just enjoy petting him in a warm, snuggly area. Spending time with your dog helps you practice mindfulness, while the act of caring for an animal helps boost your feelings of self-worth.
During anxious times, we often turn to junk food as a way to self-medicate and make us feel better. However, it is much more beneficial to maintain a healthy diet full of whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Good nutrition properly fuels your body so it is better able to deal with the physical strains of anxiety. You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of delicious and tempting holiday fare, but be mindful and try and pick the things that are made from real, whole foods. For instance, a slice of homemade apple pie is a much better choice than something store bought that is pumped full of chemicals and additives.
The holidays can be extremely stressful, especially for those already plagued with anxiety issues.
Support your mental well being this season by taking care of yourself. Exercise daily or as often as you can. Spend more time outdoors in the sunlight to help absorb vitamin D. Take time out of your day to meditate or play with a four-legged friend. Finally, care for your body by fueling it with healthy, whole foods.