Put self-care at the top of your to-do list
The holidays are among the most joyous dates of the year, but also the most hectic. Taking time to take care of yourself can often be forgotten amid the long to-do lists surrounding festivities. However, taking time to deal with stress in healthy ways can make these dates more enjoyable.
How does stress affect you?
The demands and obligations of the season can make it hard to notice when stress is affecting you mentally and physically. Common signs that you’re stressed include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Jaw pain
- Change in appetite
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
What can you change?
Make rest and self-care a priority. Taking a breather can make a big difference. The American Psychological Association reports that regularly detaching from your long to-do list can restore energy and help you be more resilient when difficulties arise.
As you deal with stressful times, consider:
- Taking a break to unwind
- Breathing deeply
- Doing activities you enjoy
How can physical health play a factor?
When you take care of your body, your mental health improves. Being active boosts your feel-good endorphins, while an anti-inflammatory diet can lower the stress hormone cortisol. By exercising regularly and eating foods high in vitamin B, protein, and magnesium, you are effectively helping your brain cope with stress. Additionally, try to avoid alcohol and drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the use of drugs or alcohol in itself can negatively impact your ability to manage stress.
What to remember
- Managing stress can be a difficult task. Being kind and compassionate towards yourself can be the first step towards mental well-being.
- You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out for help.