‘Tis the season to go crazy!
The holidays are a wonderful time to catch up with old friends, visit family, and of course enjoy all that yummy food. But, it’s also a time of incredible stress. There are a lot of gifts to be bought, schedules to be juggled and for some of us family time is not fun.
Dr. Frank Lipman, who founded the Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in Manhattan and is the go-to-wellness doctor of celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kyra Sedgwick, shared with Healthy Hollywood his tips for a truly happy holiday.
1.) Embrace routine. There’s something about the holidays that tend to make us toss our usual routines to the wind. In a word, don’t! Instead, try to keep your days on track, going about most of your daily routine as you would at any other time of the year. While your evenings may be a bit jam-packed, maintaining some semblance of a daytime routine amidst the chaos will help you feel like you still have some control over your time.
2.) Lighten your load. The holidays are a time of excess, when over-commitment seems to be the order of the day. The over-booking boosts our seasonal stress levels, and our total load compromising our immunity to boot. How to stop the insanity? Just say no to, for example, 20% of those extra activities and last-minute invitations. Be conscious of protecting your time and using it wisely. If you’re concerned about possibly offending a friend or colleague by turning down an invite, when saying no try to book another date with them early in the new year to make up for your holiday bailout.
3.) Create a roadmap. For most of us, planning out work projects is second nature, so why not do the same for the holidays? Tackle holiday logistics in advance and figure out a battle plan. Develop a rational, do-able roadmap that allows you to schedule in the downtime your body and mind needs, yet still enables you to attend to the things that need to happen. With a plan in place – and scheduling time for specific parts of Project Holiday – all will come together more smoothly and make it easier to say “no” when there isn’t room on the schedule.
4.) Dump tradition. If you find yourself frequently asking, “why am I doing this” during the holidays, it’s a pretty good indication that the activity is no longer serving its purpose and has become a chore. If you don’t truly enjoy it anymore or it takes time away from something you’d rather be doing, it’s time to dump the tradition – or re-think it how to do it better, faster or simpler for next year if you’re not yet ready to completely let it go.
5.) Know your limits. In other words, keep the number of events you attend to a few nights a week, ideally with time in between to give yourself (not to mention your liver) some nights off to rest. As a wise man once said, if you’re going out 4 or 5 nights a week and aren’t running for office, you’re over-doing it.
6.) Be here now. During the holiday rush, the more you can live in the moment, the healthier life will be for your mind and body. Throughout the day remind yourself to slow down, to breathe, and to take a moment to just be. Be aware of your breathing – and what it’s telling you: if breathing is short and shallow, your anxiety levels are likely rising and it’s time for a time out.
7.) Chill out with breathing breaks. At this time of the year our tension levels can rise in part because we forget or are too busy to “take five.” To help bust seasonal stress, hit the pause button with regular breathing breaks. Find a quiet spot, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, and do some slow, deep breathing to help re-invigorate your body, get you out of your head and release tension.
8.) Strike a pose. Give your body the gift of Restorative Yoga. What I love about it is that just when I need to unwind from a challenging day or re-energize myself for an evening out, 15 minutes of restorative yoga almost instantly restores my energy and vitality. I think of it as a mini-vacation for mind and body – and highly recommend it to all! To re-energize I lie in Reclining Open Chest Pose and to chill out I lie in Reclining Belt Pose (aka Supta Boddha Konasana).
9.) Soothe yourself – with tennis balls? Granted, it might sound odd, but at this time of the year, tennis balls can be a lifesaver for aching feet, necks and shoulders. When you get home at night grab some tennis balls and treat yourself to the ultimate foot massage or do this neck and shoulder release to help soothe aches and release tension.
10.) Move and groove. My seasonal saviors? Walking and dancing! During the holidays, bundle up try to walk everywhere you can – to the store, to the mall, through the mall, around the neighborhood. Use the walking time to reconnect with your family, friends, dog or anyone who might be getting lost in the holiday shuffle. When the weather’s bad and you’re feeling cooped up, put on some music and dance around the living room. You’ll get in a little extra exercise, and also get to experience the joy of simply grooving to the beat of your favorite tunes.
For more health and wellness tips, check out www.drfranklipman.com.