Christmas and the New Year are traditionally times where people feel happy and close to their friends and family, but December can also pose health risks. However, it’s not just the risk of overeating that can be dangerous. The holidays can also exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Here’s how to cope with three common health risks during the festive period.
Mental health issues can often worsen during the winter months and through the Christmas period. The days are shorter and colder, and the nights are long and dark, but some associate the holidays with unpleasant memories, such as the loss of a loved one.
Mental health is just as important as overall physical well-being. Just as exercise and a healthy diet are key to a longer and more productive life, so is learning to tackle issues such as anxiety and depression. Many people find it beneficial to speak to a professional, add supplements to their diet, practice meditation, or use a special lamp that mimics the effects of the sun’s rays. All of these practices can help address the risk of depression during the holidays.
The holidays can pose a challenge to anyone who is on a diet or a healthy eating lifestyle. There are countless parties, all of which come complete with rich foods that are full of fat, salt, and sugar. Even the most dedicated athlete or health nut can find it difficult to turn down a homemade treat or two!
Overeating and then feeling stressed about it will only make the issue worse. Many people find that practicing mindful eating can help indulge sensibly over the holidays. This involves thinking carefully about the food you will eat, consuming small portions, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Maintaining a proper exercise regimen will also help mitigate feelings of stress about overeating, though it’s important to remember that exercise won’t burn away all the calories from cakes, cookies, and pies!
Anxiety about Goals
As 2017 draws to a close, many people take the time to reflect on their year, the goals they had set, and the health and fitness goals they’d like to achieve in 2018. At times, this can cause anxiety, especially if they feel they haven’t accomplished everything they wanted to or if they’re concerned they won’t be able to achieve everything they will set out to do next year.
Feeling anxious or stressed about not accomplishing goals can create a cycle of negative reinforcement. Instead of worrying about what hasn’t been done or what might not be achievable in the future, focus on what you did accomplish and the unexpected obstacles you overcame. Your accomplishments could be big or small, such as starting an exercise program for the first time, running a marathon, losing a significant amount of weight, or maintaining a healthy eating plan.