decorated holiday table with christmas pastries

Tips for Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Your Health During the Holidays


The last few months of 2020 are here and we are quickly approaching the winter holiday season. This time of year can already be challenging for many and adding in the COVID-19 pandemic might make things more difficult. Here are some tips on ways to maintain good mental health in the months ahead.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin. Ask yourself what’s important about the holidays to you? For Thanksgiving, is it the feast, is it the family gathering? Figure out the most important and meaningful thing for you and focus on replicating that the best you can. If you aren’t able to, remind yourself that you can return to your rituals as they were in 2021. Find a way to make it special for you this year.

Do What’s Best for You. Try to keep your thoughts as positive as possible: gratitude journaling/exercises, mindfulness with a focus on noting and adjusting negative thinking. Put positive activities that you like into each week: biking, getting a relaxing massage, speaking/video chatting with loved ones, reading a new book, watching a TV series, trying a new recipe, or taking up a project or hobby. Productivity really helps our mental health.

Eat Good Mood Food. Yes, you read that right. There is good mood food. The best way to deal with holiday stress and obligations is to keep your mood and energy stable. You’ll not only feel better, but will be much less likely to overeat.

Choose foods that your body will absorb slowly. This will keep your blood sugar steady and maintain your mood. Slow-digesting foods include whole-grains, brown rice, salmon or chicken breast, whole-wheat bread, or a spinach salad. You want to eat either quality carbs or balance quick-digesting carb mixed with protein or fat, she says.

Foods that absorb quickly, such as processed foods, spike blood sugar high, then cause it to suddenly crash. After a crash, you might feel hangry, and end up grabbing more holiday sweets — setting yourself up for yet another blood sugar dive. Read more about good mood food.

You might feel like you gain weight just thinking about the holidays. Here’s how to enjoy the next couple of months without throwing everything to the wind.

Walk it Out. Grab the whole family early (before the football games start) and go for a family walk or hike. Depending on where you live, you could enjoy the late fall weather or walk faster to warm up in the crisp winter temps. Because we’re near multiple beaches, set out for a long walk around Hermosa, Redondo, or Manhattan Beach.

Work it Out. Just think of how amazing you’ll feel after you’ve finished your workout and get those endorphins flowing. Whether you do a home workout, outdoor session, or a quick gym lift, think about how good you’ll feel after. When you do things most people don’t do, it provides a jolt of energy and confidence because you are staying focused on your fitness at a time when others aren’t. Pull away from the sedentary holiday crowd and choose to be different by incorporating some physical activity a few times per week.

I hope you have a great holiday season and some delicious and delectable food indulgences. Isn’t that what the holiday is about? Eating good. Lol! Just don’t forget to stay active and take care of yourself to balance it out.

In the South Bay? Come and see me for your relaxing massage needs. I’m located in Hermosa Beach near Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Palos Verdes. Click to book your massage.