Keep Calm & 'Holiday' On

A crackling fire casts a warm glow on the hearth as you and your family - in your matching pajamas - settle down in your cozy home to watch a holiday special, and maybe later, sing some carols over hot cocoa.

That’s the expectation… but not always the reality. Before you know it, it’s beginning to look a lot like chaos. The cat has toppled the tree, the kids have found your present stash in the closet, you have surprise guests coming to dinner and the green bean casserole has crashed onto the kitchen floor.

The holidays bring warm feelings and joy, but they also can carry stress with them. The American Psychological Association reports that 69 percent of Americans experience anxiety during the holidays. Before you confuse ornaments with stress balls, here are some tips from Harbin Clinic to keep your days merry and bright.

The Gift of Realistic Expectations

Life’s not a Hallmark movie, and it’s important to have realistic standards throughout the season. Focusing on spending time with family and making lasting memories can be more fulfilling than making your home look like your Pinterest account and perfecting your pie recipes. No holiday is absolutely “perfect,” but there’s joy to be found in the little - and even big - imperfections.

Take some Yuletide You-Time

Although it seems there’s a million things to do and you’re running out of time, the best thing you can do for yourself (and your family) is practice self-care during the holiday season. Taking some time to relax, practice yoga, meditate or breathe deeply helps lighten your mental burden and make the sleigh ride a lot smoother.

Make a List. Check it Twice.

Developing a schedule to help tackle holiday activities can really take a load off. Planning ahead and even delegating tasks to other family members helps free up some time to just enjoy the holiday. But don’t get overwhelmed when the timeline gets thrown out of whack….take the season in stride.

Walk it Off… Literally

The savory, rich family recipes that are staples of holiday tables are great - in moderation. Trying your best to maintain a healthy diet and control your portion sizes over the holidays helps keep you calm and cool. Similarly, incorporating some physical activity into your holiday helps simmer down the stress levels by releasing endorphins that make you feel happy and positive.

Harbin Clinic wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season. If you continue to feel blue after the snow melts away, talk to your doctor about your concerns. A Harbin Clinic primary care physician can help. Call 888.427.2461 for more information or to set up an appointment.