The wonder of Christmas is nearly upon us and for many, the accompanying stress is piling up. Shopping, entertaining, parties and other commitments are filling up schedules. Overeating, headaches, fatigue and even insomnia are putting in appearances. Add in financial pressures, unfulfilled expectations, family demands, the stress of travel and . . . well, you get my point. For many, the added stress of the season is already putting a damper on holiday cheer.
Coincidentally, many of us also live in areas where gray days are becoming the norm, making us long for the mood-enhancing effects of spring sunshine (already!). And for some, feelings of loneliness, sadness, anger and anxiety are magnified by the holiday season.
It’s no wonder that so many people come down with a case of the holiday blues!
Short of hibernating until January, what can you do?
Lower your expectations, be careful not to overbook yourself, eat and drink in moderation, and leave space for things that YOU love to do.
And, make time for exercise.
As little as 10 minutes of walking per day (or another aerobic exercise) can increase your energy and improve your mood. Thirty minutes of exercise, 3 times a week, provides long-term mood-enhancing benefits. Exercise reduces depression and anxiety by stimulating the release of endorphins, while providing a distraction from worries and negative thoughts. It also improves your ability to respond to stress and helps you to sleep better.
In other words, exercise is more important than ever during the holidays – and not just for burning off those holiday treats. Don’t be tempted to lighten your schedule by cutting out exercise. Instead, put its mood-boosting stress-reducing effects to good use, and put some extra ho-ho-ho into your holidays this year!
Happy Holidays from Fit After Fifty!