All too often, the supposedly restful holiday break can become incredibly stressful, leaving us feeling burnt out going into the new year. Between hosting in-laws and extended family for holiday feasts, bouncing around to different holiday parties, and checking off seemingly never-ending holiday shopping lists, it’s a miracle we’re still standing when the last guest walks out the door. On top of that, we only have a short window between Christmas and New Year’s to dig ourselves out of that post-holiday slump.
To help you step into 2022 on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of 8 ways to refresh this holiday season:
- Watch what you eat
Coming back to work after the holidays can be tough. Most of us feel sluggish and lethargic in our Monday morning meetings, which is most likely a side effect of all the Christmas cookies and holiday feasts we’ve been indulging in all December long.
Instead of thinking, “It’s the holidays! I’ll start my diet on January 1st,” try out some healthy holiday recipes that will send you into the new year feeling ready to tackle all of your resolutions. This doesn’t mean that you should stay away from your favorite holiday treats all season long, just be mindful about what you’re eating and make sure to balance out all of those sweet treats with something that’s good for you!
- Make realistic New Year’s resolutions
How many of us have jotted down a few New Year’s resolutions that we’ve all but forgotten about by the time we are back to work after the holidays? According to a University of Scranton study, 80 percent of people fail to keep their resolutions past the end of January.
To give yourself the best chance of sticking to your resolutions, make sure that they’re SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, instead of simply making it a goal to “lose weight” this year, decide how much weight you’d like to lose and at what time interval. At the same time, it’s important that your resolution is achievable, so don’t plan to lose 20 pounds in a month or you’ll be disappointed — and more likely to give up on your goal.
- Try a new workout
Have you been itching to try that new workout class at your gym or have had that fancy exercise bike in your shopping cart for the past few months? Why not gift yourself a few classes or finally click “check out” so you can have that bike underneath the tree on Christmas morning!
Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve holiday stress and help you keep off the extra pounds one usually gains during the holiday season.
- Show gratitude
The holiday season is supposed to be a time where we reflect on our many blessings and feel gratitude, but the chaos of parties, dinners, and holiday guests can quickly make us forget to feel thankful. However, it’s been proven that practicing gratitude improves sleep, boosts immunity and decreases the risk of disease.
Make it a goal to start a gratitude journal in the new year or plan to write a thank-you note to someone every day, week, or month in the new year.
- Hold on to your daily rituals
Don’t let the chaos of the season make you sacrifice your daily routine. Our daily practices help to calm and center us. If you like to read for a half-hour before bed, don’t give it up in favor of another holiday chore. The holidays already bring so many disruptions to daily life that are out of our control, so we might as well hold on to the things that we do have control over.
- Get outside
When the days get shorter and colder, it’s only natural to want to hibernate. As a result, we spend the majority of the holiday season shutting ourselves up in our homes underneath a pile of blankets or beside a warm fire. Research shows that hibernating for long stretches of time, though it feels mighty compelling, isn’t really meant for humans.
“Too little sunlight is stressful and affects our emotional and physical wellbeing, making us vulnerable to being pessimistic and fatigued,” says John Sharp, M.D., a clinical psychiatrist, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) specialist at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
It also throws your circadian rhythms off, which can have a negative effect on your health. Circadian rhythms are responsible for more than just your sleep cycle — they keep everything from your moods to your digestion in check.
- Reorganize/deep clean your house
When the last holiday guest has left your house, there’s nothing you’d rather do than flop onto your couch with a strong drink. But the time between Christmas and the new year is a great opportunity to clean and reorganize your home. You already have holiday decorations to take down and put away, and some messes to clean up left behind by your holiday guests. So, you might as well take some extra time to throw out the decorations in the back of the closet that you’ve held onto but haven’t used in years, or reorganize your gift wrapping supply. You’ll feel so much better afterward, and your future self will thank you for making holiday decorating that much easier next year.
- Take some personal time
The holidays are a time where you spend most of your time thinking and doing for others — and there’s nothing wrong with that! But make sure to take some time to do the things that you want to do this holiday season.
Is there a favorite holiday movie that you haven’t watched yet this season? Grab a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn and put it on! Haven’t heard your favorite Christmas song on the radio yet? Make a playlist of your favorite holiday classics to listen to while decorating the house or cooking a holiday feast. You’ll be glad you took the time to do these small things for yourself once the holiday season is over.
We hope these tips help you feel refreshed this holiday season going into 2022. Happy holidays from your friends at Orange Element!