As a famous holiday tune tells us, “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays.” While plans of holiday travel and spending time with extended family are likely put to bed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean we can’t still be festive from the comfort of our own homes. And though it’s true that Christmastime is viewed as the happiest time of the year, filled with messages of cheer and joy, it’s also true that the holidays often bring about added stresses each year as well. These stresses can manifest themselves in many different aspects of our lives – physically, financially, and mentally. This year, of all years, here’s a holiday reminder that traditions change, and that’s okay! The least we can do is give ourselves some grace and be kind to ourselves this holiday season. Here are some tips on staying healthy for the holidays, even if you’re staying home.
The holidays are often the time of year we forget our diets and fitness regimes and indulge on hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. If you factor in the relief of not having to squeeze into a constricting holiday dress or a tight suit, this allows our Zoom holiday get-togethers an even more lenient dress code (can you say, pajama pants?) In fact, many people let the holidays become a free-for-all, telling themselves they’ll get their diet and fitness back on track in the New Year. A way to stay stress-free this holiday season is to exercise regularly, continue eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, and moderate alcohol consumption. And of course, the best ways to stay physically healthy – especially this year – is to wear a mask, wash your hands, and get your flu shot if you haven’t already. If you’re feeling unwell, be sure to stay home and don’t travel or visit family (CDC).
Financially, the holidays bring about some of the most stressful days. 2020 has given no reprieve of that fact. With hundreds of thousands of people across the country being negatively affected financially due to the pandemic, many people are worrying how they can afford their next rent payment, let alone how they are going to put presents under the tree this year. The added financial stress of 2020 can take a big toll, so it’s important to communicate with your family and friends and set expectations for the holiday season. A great tip from Forbes is to “make [the holidays] a time to do meaningful activities that don’t revolve around spending unnecessary dollars” (Forbes). Holiday traditions change, and it’s okay to take the material aspect out of celebrating and instead focus on the time we can spend with our loved ones, virtually or otherwise. If presents are still in the cards for you this year, consider some alternative gifting ideas that can help you stay on a budget. According to Mayo Clinic, some ways to help you stick to your budget can be donating to charity in someone’s name, giving homemade gifts instead of buying them, and organizing a family gift exchange to cut back on costs (Mayo Clinic).
This year has tested us mentally in ways more severe than anyone could have possibly imagined. While the end of the year is right around the corner, and we can look to 2021 with positivity and hope, the holiday season isn’t quite over yet. So, before we reach the new year, I’ll leave you with this small piece of advice: Be kind to yourself. According to Active Minds, “The holidays can cause weight gain, the shorter days can cause low mood, and the flu season can cause sickness” (Active Minds). It’s important we all take the time we need and listen to our bodies and minds when necessary. Self-care is important this time of year more than ever. So, give yourself some grace! This year the holiday season is a little extra crazy, so granting yourself a little extra patience and love during these times is extremely valuable. For all of you out there celebrating winter holidays at home through your phone cameras and laptops, we see you, we’re with you, and we’re so proud of you for staying healthy and home for the holidays!