The holidays are known for being a time full of joy, convening with family, exchanging gifts, and more. For some, though, the holidays can bring on stress, sad memories, and more. In 2019, a study showed that 88% of adult respondents said that the holidays were the most stressful time of the year. And that was before the pandemic.
Now, along with the traditional holiday stressors like chaotic schedules, family drama, and politics, we get to throw in double sanitizing surfaces, masking up at events, and COVID tests. It’s a lot to think about during a time of year that is already known for its stressors.
This year at BLK & Bold, we’ve made it our mission to Give Boldly in every way possible, and that includes to ourselves. We went looking for answers to what are:
- The biggest holiday stressors
- The top three ways to stay mentally and physically healthy during the holidays
By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a strategy to keep the holiday stressors at bay and have a good time.
What are the biggest holiday stressors?
The winter holidays have their own brand of stress. Things that may be a minor inconvenience during the rest of the year become amplified during the winter months. Some of the stressors you might experience include:
Finances going haywire— During the holiday season, it seems like new financial obligations hit back to back. You’re looking for the perfect gift, budgeting for gatherings, shopping for festive outfits, and paying your monthly bills. This kind of spending can put a lot of stress on your budget and your mind.
Routine where?!— With the extra gatherings, travel, shopping, and cooking, it is easy to wear yourself down and do everything on autopilot. Nothing matters as long as it gets done, right? This kind of thinking can lead you to abandon the routine you’ve set for yourself. Ultimately, that leads to extra stress, forgetting important details, and skipping crucial self-care tasks.
Family matters— Family can be a touchy subject around the holidays. Those who have lost family members can feel the sting of their absence extra during this time of the year. If you have strained relationships, putting on a happy face for long periods of time to keep the peace can also be draining. Even if you have healthy relationships, all the social time can leave you feeling exhausted.
The pressure— The trap of trying to meet everyone’s expectations during the holidays is easy to fall into. You want to make it to all the gatherings, and maybe even host your own. Between all that, you need to shop for gifts (which need to be perfect) and prepare to travel or host guests. Oh, and you need to be festive and cheerful for it! This kind of pressure is unlike what we experience at other parts of the year, and can be exhausting.
Top 3 ways to stay mentally and physically healthy during the holidays
Keeping cool during the holidays is not an easy feat. We sat down with Angela Thompson, therapist, travel social worker, and author, who believes that maintaining mental and physical health during the holidays requires a balance of daily self-care practices. Here are her top 3 tips.
Unplug from technology
“Staying up all night, staring at your screens, looking for the perfect gift is tempting, but it’s likely affecting your health more than you think. The blue light from your phone, tablet, or computer screen signals to your brain that it should stay stimulated, instead of winding you down in preparation to go to sleep. This interrupts your sleep cycle and reduces the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling fatigued and fuzzy-headed the next day. If you need something to do to calm your mind, consider winding down by reading a book or journaling in a notebook for the last hour of your day.”
BOLD TIP: Wind down with a cup of BLK & Bold Moroccan Mint loose leaf tea while you read.
Plan a balanced diet
“It’s easy to get caught up in eating all the holiday goodies, but maintaining a balanced diet with regular meals and snacks that contain plenty of fresh fruit, green vegetables, and complex proteins will fuel your body and mind through end-of-year work projects, holiday shopping, and spending time with your family. Eating healthily will keep your mood balanced, improve sleep, and help you stay focused throughout your day. It may also be beneficial to consult your primary care physician about taking a daily multivitamin or supplement to fill the gaps in your nutrition.”
BOLD TIP: Add in a tea with lots of antioxidants like BLK & Bold Matcha Green Tea Powder to help aid digestion, boost energy, and help fight inflammation!
“Of course exercise appears on every ‘self-care’ list, but there really is no overstating just how important it is to get your body moving every day. Adding exercise to your daily routine will release those happy chemicals (dopamine and endorphins) to enhance your mood, improve memory, and relieve stress and pain. It may be difficult to find time to do so at this busy time of year, but you can incorporate exercise into your regular activities—park further away from your shopping destinations to get your steps in, play music and dance while doing your holiday cleaning and decorating, or do yoga while you watch your favorite shows—the possibilities are endless!”
BOLD TIP: Heading to the gym? Replace your powdery pre-workout with a cup of BLK & Bold Smoove Operator to energize your session!