Celebrate more, stress less
WE'VE GOT A NEW HOLIDAY TO-DO FOR YOU: RELAX. The season's hustle and bustle can throw off healthy habits. But if you make it a priority to sleep enough, exercise regularly and eat well, you are more likely to stay healthy enough to enjoy the season. This year, give yourself the gift of self-care.
Healthy Habit
SPREAD A LITTLE SUNSHINE. A sad mood, low energy, carb cravings and irritability may be signs of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a kind of depression that should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Medicine, talk therapy and light therapy can help, as can getting more sunlight.
TRY IT: Eat breakfast beside a bright window. Walk outside at lunchtime. (Exercise eases SAD, too.) If you can, spend a few days in a warm, sunny place.
Five to Try
Don't wait for the new year to focus on your health. Here's how experts suggest tackling common holiday stressors, so you can set yourself up for success in 2018.
1. MAKE PLANS MINDFULLY. Saying "yes" to everything leaves no time for you. Instead, say "I'll get back to you," and give yourself time to figure out if it will fit your schedule.
2. AVOID POST-PARTY REGRET. Take along a delicious, healthful dish that you will feel good about eating. Find recipe ideas on Well-Being Connect®.
3. FOCUS ON PRESENCE, NOT PRESENTS. Money is a huge holiday stressor. Make a budget with help from the Healthways Financial Well-Being™ program, then stick to it.
4. LEND A HELPING HAND. Volunteering is a good way to connect, clear your mind and boost your mood. Don't forget to ask for help when you need it.
5. UNWIND AT BEDTIME. Stress makes for poor sleep, and poor sleep boosts stress hormones. To calm down from head to toe, take deep breaths, and try clenching and flexing your muscles. Start with your face and move down to your feet.
Support System
This year, replace drinks and dinner with active get-togethers such as walking in a winter wonderland or going ice skating. Regular exercise helps ease stress, anxiety and SAD. Use the resources on Well-Being Connect to stay focused on your fitness goals.
Eat Well, Live Well
Dark chocolate, a favorite ingredient in holiday baking, has a tension-taming effect. Just be sure to keep portions small. Find other delicious holiday treats that are nutritious and sensibly portioned on Well-Being Connect.
Registered dietitian Mary LaRock flavored these phyllo rolls with orange and dark chocolate for a winning cookie that will be a lovely addition to any holiday cookie platter. Get the recipe.
Don't Forget
Take advantage of program resources that can help with other areas of your well-being.
Articles and recipes in Well-Being Connect
Well-being challenges and more in Well-Being Connect
The Healthways Financial Well-Being™ program powered by Dave Ramsey
The QuitNet® tobacco cessation program