‘Tis the season to be merry. But for many of us, it can also be the season to feel stressed, and even sad.
If you’re feeling down this holiday season, you’re not alone. According to a Healthline survey, 61 percent of millennials feel some stress during the holidays. But let’s be real: No one’s holiday looks like a picture-perfect Hallmark movie.
For some of us, it’s a bittersweet, highly charged time of year, with plenty of family drama to go around. Many of us just feel stressed and burnt out with all the social (and financial) obligations, while others may be feeling the effects of going overboard on the free cookies and open bars this time of year.
So if you’re feeling stressed, sad or just blah, keep reading. These seven strategies can help you have a happier and healthier holiday.
1. Take care of yourself.
Like any other time of year, you can’t put self-care on the back burner this time of year. It’s just as important — if not more important — to take extra good care of yourself during the holidays. Maybe that means skipping a party for a night in with Netflix, or scheduling a workout in the morning. Make some me-time for whatever it that helps you feel more like your best self, whether it’s a manicure, yoga class, or just an hour vegging out on the couch. And don't forget your Binto supplements to take care of your health and hormones this time of year as well.
2. Do something nice for someone else.
As Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up.” Giving back is just as beneficial for the giver as the receiver. And this time of year, there’s plenty of ways to help others. Serve a meal at a homeless shelter, send a care package to soldiers overseas, or simply write a thank-you card to someone who’s helped you in a big this year. It doesn’t have to cost a ton of money — when you deliver a heartfelt sentiment, it can be a big difference in someone’s day.
3. Connect with old friend.
Even though no one really talks about it, many people can feel lonely this time of year. One antidote to assuage your loneliness — as well as someone else’s? Send a long email to an old friend, or give them a call to catch up. They'll be thrilled to hear from you, and you’ll be surprised at how much this can lift your mood.
4. Fill up on healthier foods.
Sugary treats might taste delicious at the time, just like having a few drinks can put you in a jolly mood. But unfortunately, the good vibes won’t last. Sugar can lead to a crash and an upset stomach later on, while the next-day hangover can affect not only your physical health, but also your mental health. (Here's how sugar and alcohol can affect your menstrual cycle, too.)
We’re all for indulging in your favorite seasonal treats, but there’s no need to go overboard. If you’re drinking, try to alternate alcoholic drinks with soda water with lime — no one will know it’s alcohol-free. At buffets and holiday dinners, focus on filling your plate with veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats first. Then, have a few bites of whatever indulgences are calling your name, like your mom’s creamy mashed potatoes or your great aunt’s famous pecan pie.
5. Fit in exercise.
Your to-do list may look endless, but make sure workouts have a place on there too. Moving your body can help boost your mood when you’re going through stressful or hard times, and it can also boost your energy. Research shows that when regular exercisers stop working out, they begin to feel depressed and fatigued after just one week. Make sure to fit in a long walk, yoga class, or quick gym session, whenever possible this time of year.
6. Make a list of the good things in your life.
It’s easy to get down on yourself this time of year. Feel like you didn’t do enough this year? Sad that things didn’t go the way you hoped they would? Getting over a breakup? First, know you’re not alone. Then, to get out of the funk, make a list of positive things that happened this year. Aim for at least five.
No matter how dark your year was overall, there were surely some bright spots as well. Maybe you took a fun weekend trip, discovered a new favorite yoga studio, or made a great new friend. Whatever your highlights were, writing them down will help them eclipse the darker moments in your mind.
When all else fails, watch a funny movie — and we’re not talking about a cheesy holiday film. Go for a classic comedy like The Hangover, Mean Girls, or Bridesmaids. Nothing cheers you up faster than watching a bride have a bathroom emergency in the middle of busy street, after all.