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Home/Blog/Holiday Stress Survival Guide: 7 Tips

Holiday Stress Survival Guide: 7 Tips

By Ethan Boldt

December 15, 2023

Holiday stress survival tips

Holiday survival guide? “What are you talking about? I love the holidays!” you might exclaim. Well, yes, most of us do … but admit it, it can be challenging in a different way than the rest of the year. Holiday stress is very real.

Suddenly you’re seeing a lot of people, including some familiar faces that can be demanding in good and bad ways. You’re also traveling a lot, cooking significantly more than usual and faced with a ton of naughty treats everywhere. 

It all can mean a potential wrecking ball for your routine, a load of fresh stress plus a solid test for your immune system health. With that in mind, here are seven steps to help you not just survive the holidays but enjoy them to the max.

1. Unplug

Did you know that about half of American adults check their phones numerous times an hour? The onslaught of family, friends and social events that occurs during the holidays is enough to make even the most social person want to sneak away and enjoy some alone time. 

But if your idea of relaxing during the holiday madness means scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, you should seriously consider unplugging for the holidays.

Unplugging for the holidays is more than just sticking your smartphone or other tech devices into another room for a few hours. Instead, it’s about making a concerted effort to give your brain a break and allow yourself to enjoy life’s most significant pleasures, such as the company of your relatives that you barely see most of the year. 

2. Make your digital detox a group effort

It’s a lot easier to stay away from your smart devices if everybody else joins in. Have everyone turn their phones off, then collect them and keep them in a separate room. And absolutely no phones at the dinner table! And whatever holiday movie your family loves to watch, even if it’s the umpteenth time you’ve seen it, no one wants to see your blue screen pop up because you’re getting bored. 

3. Enjoy your holiday foods, but keep an eye on fiber, protein and sugar

It can be an uphill climb trying to eat healthfully come holiday time. But it can be done if you pay close attention to your quantities of protein (more), fiber (more) and sugar (less!)

You might associate protein mostly with building lean muscle tissue, but it serves many other roles, such as burning body fat, supporting our metabolism and helping us feel full (satiety). So how much protein do you need? In general, consuming about 50 percent of your body weight in grams of protein per day is about what you want.

Besides consuming high-quality protein foods, one of the most convenient ways to increase your protein intake is to supplement with protein powder, such as collagen protein, Bone Broth Protein or plant-based protein

It’s hard to believe, but an estimated 95 percent of American adults do not consume their recommended amounts of fiber. While recognized for how it promotes digestive health and regular bowel movements, fiber also supports healthy blood sugar levels in the normal range and, this is key, encourages healthy weight management by creating satiety and can help curb your appetite, thereby reducing calorie intake. 

So how much fiber per day? For women over age 50, approximately 21 grams per day; for men over 50, 30 grams per day. For adult women under age 50, 25 grams per day; for men under 50, 38 grams. 

Lastly, sugar can be a big deal, as in disruptor, during the holidays. Excess sugar intake can impact health in a variety of ways — everything from weight to blood sugar, cognitive-related and menopause-related impacts as well as overall health. 

How much sugar per day? Adult women should consume no more than six teaspoons/24 grams of added sugar per day, which equates to about 100 calories per day. For men, no more than 150 calories per day come from added sugars, which is about nine teaspoons/36 grams. 

As always, you should consult your healthcare professional about any dietary or lifestyle changes or beginning any new regimen. 

4. Get enough quality sleep

Reducing your screen time can help you sleep better, as that blue light acts to stifle the production of melatonin. That’s a big deal, because melatonin is the hormone that’s responsible for setting our sleep-wake cycles, or circadian rhythms. This makes it harder not only to fall asleep, but fall into the deep sleep that our bodies need to properly refresh.

The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. In fact, missing adequate, restful sleep can take years off your life. It can also lead to weight gain, impact your immune system function and affect your mood negatively.

Consider eating more foods that help you sleep, such as turkey, walnuts and almonds, bananas and berries, and even greens. There’s also some sleep-supporting supplements like ashwagandha and magnesium that can help. 

5. Give gifts but don’t go overboard

Did you know that giving a gift to someone else creates more joy than buying a gift for yourself? Science says it’s true. And that gift doesn’t have to be a wrapped-up package, as money/gift card, experiences and the simple gift of time together boost happiness for the giver and receiver.

Consider reducing the excess stuff in our gifting — the unnecessary clutter that’s actually holding us back, maxing out our credit cards and messing with our mental outlook.

6. Take advantage of the time with loved ones

The sudden arrival of so many people into your life can push you to seek isolation, but try and resist that temptation. Spending time with your friends and family actually can improve your health.

The holidays give you an opportunity to nurture those relationships that are important to you and reconnect, while possibly increasing longevity. 

7. Pre-plan activities

To fully take advantage of having everyone together and to help boost everyone’s experience, come up with a fun list of activities that will involve everyone and provide unique experiences that will create memories that can last a lifetime. 

Go for fun hikes and enjoy the stress-relieving aspects of forest bathing. Visit historic sites together or popular holiday spots. Support a great local restaurant and book ahead. Make popcorn and peppermint mocha and sit down to a classic movie. Bake some holiday cookies together like our Christmas sugar cookies

Happy holidays, everyone!

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