By Sandy Jolles, MS
The holiday season can be a gift. We may have the opportunity to spend time with friends and family, recap the year, and set goals for the next 365 days.
But just as the holidays can bring pleasure and bliss, they can promote stress. Often, the holidays can be a time of year that leaves you wondering, “Where did all my money go, and how come I’m more stressed than before the holidays?”
So, if you often find yourself white-knuckling your way through this time of year, don’t lose hope. Certain hacks can help you stay calm and feel much better during the holidays.
1. Stretch For 20-Minute Intervals
Most people associate stretching with physical benefits: improved blood flow, reduced muscle soreness, better flexibility, etc.
While these are undoubtedly great advantages of static stretching, such activities are also fantastic for the mind and can promote calmness.
You can do plenty of stretches, including ones that can be done on the chair. Examples are below:
- Figure four stretch
- Eagle arms
- Side bend
- Seated cat/cow
If you are comfortable getting up and down from the ground, below are some additional stretches to consider:
- Child’s pose
- Cobra stretch
- Cat Cow pose
- Knees to chest
- Standing chest stretch (e.g., inside a doorway)
- Neck stretch
For those of you that are comfortable with the more advanced stretches, consider the following:
- Frog stretch
- Dynamic side lunge
- Half pigeon stretch
- Hero pose
- Wheel pose
2. Limit Refined Sugars And Eat Minimally-Processed Food
Refined sugars digest rapidly and often cause a sugar rush, adversely affecting your state of mind. As a result, you can feel more anxious, less focused, and unable to control negative thoughts.
An excellent way to avoid such issues is to replace fast-digesting carbs with whole and minimally-processed foods:
- Fresh and frozen fruits
- Brown rice
Ultimately, these foods will keep you feeling more satiated, reduce fatigue, and help to stabilize your blood sugar.
We all carry a desire to help others. As the saying goes, "You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
Volunteering is an overlooked activity that boosts your well-being, contributes to happiness, makes you feel more fulfilled, and helps you develop lasting bonds with others. Additionally, altruism taps into our feelings of empathy, perspective, gratitude, and compassion.
Whether you decide to work at a soup kitchen for a few hours, donate items and clothes you don’t use, make holiday cards, being a good neighbor, or give back through a service project, volunteering can calm your mind and allow you to make the world a tiny bit better.
4. Manage Your Finances
Too many of us get anxious about the holidays as we may be spending more money for presents, travel, food, etc.
Managing your finances is a proactive way to stay calm during the holidays. Make the budget, acknowledge the budget, and stick to the budget.
Ease your mind around the holidays by saving up some money beforehand. For example, save 10 percent of your monthly earnings and put them in a holiday fund. That way, you will have some funds dedicated to holiday expenses.
In addition, set a concrete budget for your holiday spending. It can be tempting to splurge by traveling to places and buying expensive gifts for your loved ones but know your limits.
Look at where you stand financially and calculate how much you can realistically spend for the holidays.
These two things might seem overly simplistic but combining them can make all the difference in the world. This may help to avoid buyer’s remorse at the end of the holiday season!
5. Disconnect From Distractions
We live in a digital world where communication is instant, news spreads instantly, and work demands can arise at any time of day (or night). As a result, we are under a constant barrage of emails, notifications, text messages, and more.
The problem is that the never-ending demand of the digital world can wear us down, leading to stress. Phone notifications might seem harmless, but each ping can affect your well-being, especially if it demands something of you.
One good way to stay calm during the holidays is to take a “digital detox” from the digital world and focus on your family and friends, even if for a few days. Enjoy good times and give your mind a much-needed break from the never-ending stimulation of your smartphone and computer.
6. Stimulate The Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex communication channel within the gut-brain axis. It passes through the gut, diaphragm, throat, facial muscles, and other areas of the body before connecting to the brain. The nerve sends signals from the gut to the brain and vice-versa.
Thanks to its nuanced structure and functions, one practical way to stimulate the vagus nerve is through breathing exercises. Doing so can increase the vagal tone––a type of nervous system activity that regulates blood pressure, breathing, and more.
One good option is 4-7-8 diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and forcefully exhale for eight seconds. Do up to 10 repetitions and repeat two to three times per day.
7. Consider HealthyBest Calm
Our final recommendation for keeping a level head during the chaos of the holiday season is to consider taking safe and effective nutritional supplements.
Although nutritional supplements are not magic bullets that bring instant relief, certain products can be helpful when combined with other tactics, such as those we’ve discussed above.
HealthyBest Calm is an excellent option. This nutritional supplement is designed to help support our stress response, support metabolic activity, and promote better sleep, which is crucial for mental health and well-being.*
For instance, thiamine (vitamin B1), one of the ingredients in Calm, has been shown to be effective in supporting optimal function of the adrenal glands, managing anxious thoughts, and promoting a healthy nervous system.*
So, when faced with an anxious situation, take one capsule of HealthyBest Calm during the day to help with anxious eating and to manage your body’s response to stress. Or take two capsules of Calm at night 30 minutes before bed to support a good’s night sleep.*
There you have it:
Seven effective hacks for tackling the holiday season with calmness and grace. Each of these tactics can be useful on its own, but true magic occurs when you combine them into a mindfulness holiday plan.
Maintaining a level head can be one of the most challenging things during the holidays but focusing on all levels of wellness (e.g. financial health, supplementation, mindfulness, and altruism) can make all the difference!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.