Riding the Holiday Rollercoaster
The holidays can be a rollercoaster of emotions. There are moments of great fun, sadness, gratitude, anxiety, romance, disappointment, sweetness and fatigue. You name it – you’ll probably feel it during the holidays.
How do you keep yourself on an even keel so you don’t run off the rails? Here are some tips that will keep your moods from swinging all over the place during the holidays and beyond.
The body is about 60% water and every cell in the body needs enough water to function properly. Mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, trouble concentrating, bad moods and cravings for sweets. Start with a big glass of lemon water in the morning, and continue to sip on water throughout the day. Aim for at least 64 ounces of filtered water every day.
Balance your blood sugar
When your blood sugar spikes, you have a lot of immediate quick-burning energy. But when it crashes, your energy tanks. You get “hangry” and crave more quick-burning carbohydrates NOW. This is hard on your body and your moods. To avoid this, eat a balanced meal every 3-5 hours. Don’t skip meals. Every meal (and snack) should have plenty of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. Sugar and processed white-flour foods put you on the blood sugar rollercoaster, so save them for special occasions.
Watch your alcohol and caffeine intake
Both alcohol and caffeine are a double-edged sword. A little of each can have positive beneficial effects. Too much of either one can cause irritability, anxiousness and sadness, and impair your sleep. Both are dehydrating too, so be sure to drink more water when you have them.
Keep a regular sleep schedule
The body likes being on a routine. Going to bed and waking up around the same times each day helps regulate your circadian rhythms and is soothing to the body. This helps with resiliency and modulating your moods.
Take a walk outside in the morning
Being outside in the daylight for even 20 minutes in the morning has many benefits. It helps set your circadian rhythms for the day, so that you feel sleepy at the right time at night. It also gives you exercise outside in the fresh air. If you can’t go out in the morning, being outside any time of day has beneficial effects.
Take deep breathing breaks throughout the day
Focused deep breathing gives your body a reset and calms your nervous system. Once every hour, stop what you’re doing and do a deep breathing exercise like this one: Inhale deeply for 4 counts, hold for 6 counts, exhale slowly for 8 counts, hold for 6 counts. Do this 5 times.
Perform small acts of kindness
These acts of kindness don’t just benefit the recipient. They benefit you! Performing small daily acts of kindness increases three of your “feel good” neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin – which increases your overall feeling of happiness.
This holiday season, remember to purposely slow down and be present. There will be lots of emotions, so “feel the feels” and remember that there is no “perfect” holiday.