Posted on Dec 26, 2023, 2 p.m.
Many people work hard to make the holiday season as perfect as it can be at the expense of their own health. If you are one of those people who does whatever it takes to sprinkle a little holiday magic on to their family and friends perhaps you should take a moment for yourself and make sure that you are taken care of as well.
According to a research poll from the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good conducted by Wakefield Research, of 1,000 nationally representative American adults, 79% of adults neglect their own health needs during the holiday season. 51% of the respondents reported that it can take weeks for them to feel less stressed after the holidays, and over a quarter of mothers said that it can take them a month or longer to recover from the holiday Merry Stress-mas.
The analysis revealed that 71% tend to regret not taking the time to relax more over the holidays, and another 63% reported that they find the holiday season to be more stressful than tax time. The analysis indicated that people of all ages have a hard time with stress during the holiday season. However, the researchers believe that adopting a few simple healthy habits can help to alleviate some of the feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed that are associated with the demanding schedules and hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
“Chronic stress can negatively impact both your long-term mental and physical health in many ways if left unmanaged,” says Glenn N. Levine, M.D., FAHA, an American Heart Association volunteer and writing committee chair of the Association’s 2021 Psychological Health, Well-Being, and the Mind-Heart-Body Connection scientific statement. “The holidays are an easy time to justify putting off healthy habits, but it’s important to manage chronic stress and other risk factors to stay healthy during the holiday season and into the New Year.”
69% of the respondents report having difficulty with eating healthy during the holidays, 64% struggle with keeping up their fitness routine, and 56% report not being able to get enough sleep during the holiday season. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during “the most wonderful time of the year” can be pretty tough, but making some small changes may help to manage holiday stress and keep you on track:
Be mindful of what you are eating, watch the portion sizes, try to choose more fruits and vegetables for your plate, and remember that you are not obligated to try everything or eat everything on your plate.
When you feel anxious or stressed being physically active is one of the best things you can do. Try to take a short walk, being in nature with fresh air will help even more. Any type of movement counts and will help to release some of those feel-good endorphins.
Quality sleep or lack thereof can influence your energy, mood, memory, eating habits, and much more. Try to remember to go to bed at a reasonable time, take a nap when you need it, and consider silencing all of your gadgets before you go to bed to help you unwind before going to Slumberland.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to be kind. When you are connecting with others do not compare yourself to them. Be kind to yourself and them, after all, no one is perfect, nor do they need to be. If you or a loved one begins to feel stressed, lean on each other for support, but don’t dwell on negative feelings, move on and try to laugh more. This way you can both enjoy the holiday season together with lighter, happier, and hopefully healthier hearts.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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T.W. at WHN