The holiday season is for giving and spreading kindness to others, but
it’s also important to show yourself kindness, too. Among the hustle
and bustle of the season, remember to take some time to care for yourself
and be the healthiest possible you. Here are some healthy gifts you can
give yourself this holiday season:
The Gift of Relaxation
We won’t sugarcoat it—2020 has been an incredibly stressful
year for many. And for some, the pressure of the holidays leads to plenty
of year-end stress. If you’re feeling stressed out or if you just
want to keep yourself calm as the holiday season looms, consider these tips:
Just breathe. Deep breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to bust stress.
Slow, deep, even breaths are a way to tell your brain to calm down and
relax. As you breathe deeply, you’ll notice the negative effects
of stress (increased heart rate, high blood pressure, fast breathing)
decrease. Try the
4-7-8 method or
diaphragmatic breathing to start.
go outside. Did you know that
being in nature reduces both physical and psychological stress levels? Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and explore the outdoors. Whether
you choose to scale a mountain or simply eat lunch outside, you’ll
find that the scenes and sounds of nature calm your nerves.
Meditate or practice mindfulness. With practice, meditation and mindfulness can help you release negative
emotions causing your body physical stress. Also, meditation and mindfulness
can improve your mood, decrease pain, and help you get a better night’s
James M Stockman Cancer Institute's Integrative Services, available to cancer patients, include guided meditation and mindfulness
as well as other relaxing activities like yoga and Tai Chi.
See your doctor. You wouldn’t avoid your doctor if you noticed a concerning change
in your physical health, so don’t avoid your doctor if you notice
changes in your
mental health. If your daily stress has turned to anxiety or
depression, it’s essential to talk to your doctor so they can help take control
of stress and improve your mental health.
The Gift of Healthy Eating
The holidays are notorious for decadent desserts and second (and third)
helpings. But have you noticed how you feel sluggish after indulging in
that extra piece of pumpkin pie? You don’t have to give up all your
favorite holiday foods, but there are some ways to make healthier choices—with
Update recipes for a more nutritional twist. For example, instead of making sweet potato casserole, try sweet baked
potatoes instead. Try these
healthy food swaps that don’t sacrifice taste.
Rethink your drink. Soda, sweet tea, and alcoholic beverages—like your homemade eggnog—can
often pack as many calories and as much sugar as that slice of holiday
pie. Swapping even one sugary drink for water will help you
stay hydrated and feel better throughout the day.
Eat in moderation. Limiting how much you eat during the holidays isn’t always easy,
especially when there are so many yummy options to try. However, using
balance and moderation is a great way to
celebrate the holidays the healthy way while still savoring your favorite dishes. Use our partner
5-2-1-0 program as guidance: strive for five fruits and veggies a day, limit your screen
time to two hours or less, get active for at least one hour a day, and
cut out sugary drinks.
The Gift of Fitness
Establishing an exercise routine and striving for at least an hour of physical
activity each day is a great way to give yourself the gift of fitness.
Make it a habit. Whether you hit the gym, go for a run, or take your dog for a walk, just
get moving. When you make it a point to exercise each day, it’ll
become easier to make physical activity part of your daily routine.
Move more, sit less. Especially if your job requires you to sit at a computer all day, it’s
important to take breaks to get up and move every half hour. You can stretch,
take a short walk, or follow along with a short
desk workout video.
Try yoga. When it comes to exercising and reducing stress, yoga is the best of both
worlds. The gentle stretches are a great way to prep for a workout, or
you can do an entire yoga workout. Start slow with
these beginner yoga poses. Nearly 90 percent of Americans who regularly practice yoga say their
stress levels are reduced. Additionally, you may notice benefits such
as reduced pain and better sleep.
Giving yourself these gifts helps contribute to the most important gift of all:
The Gift of Health. Whether mental or physical, good health is the most important gift you
can give yourself at any age. When you treat your body with kindness by
eating healthy, exercising, kicking bad habits like smoking and excessive
drinking, and managing stress, your body will thank you.
Working toward a healthier you doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor.
Whether you want to
lose weight, or simply need a routine wellness exam,
we’re here for you.