Updated: Dec 2, 2020
The holidays are fast approaching and, along with the normal holiday stressors, this year we have the additional challenge of coping with a pandemic. To get through the holidays this year remember the mantra “As Much As Possible” (AMAP) and take care of your mental and physical health by focusing on the following healthy guidelines:
Hydrate – Hydration is an important part of a healthy brain and body. The thirst response diminishes in the cold, but we still need to hydrate in the winter months. Even being slightly dehydrated can impair concentration and energy.
Along with hydration be sure to monitor your consumption of alcohol which dehydrates the body. For every glass of wine or spirits, you consume you should also have a glass of water. If you remember to drink hydrating fluids, you will feel better physically and be better able to manage stress. So AMAP, hydrate!
Move – Movement in the form of exercise is an effective way to manage stress. If you are not the gym type, you’ll be happy to hear that if you are increasing your heart rate you are still getting benefits that can improve both your physical and mental health!
One way to move more is to enjoy the 5 S’s of winter: Sledding, skiing, skating, snowball fights, and snow angels. These activities seem less like exercise and can get you moving enough to increase your heart rate. Remember, there’s no such thing as cold weather, only inadequate clothing! So AMAP, move your body!
Sleep – Sleep is the time when the brain restores, repairs, and regenerates so you can function at your best. One of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health is to get enough restful sleep. Establish a bedtime routine that includes going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, even on the weekends! So AMAP, get enough sleep!
Nutrition –Nutritious eating is another important way to achieve good health and improve your ability to manage stress. Did you know that processed foods and sugars impair your physical and mental health? Yes, I know…it’s the holidays! I would never dream of telling you that you cannot have those Christmas cookies, candies, and other goodies but you can achieve balance with what you eat.
First, eat the rainbow…and I don’t mean Skittles. Get a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables AMAP! Then when you do indulge and have a cookie (or two or three) you know that you balanced it out with nutritious foods.
Second, fill up with those nutritious foods before going to the dessert table. When you include foods with plenty of protein and drink plenty of water, you may help decrease your appetite so you eat fewer sweets.
Finally, enjoy, yes, you read that right, enjoy those treats when you do have them. By avoiding the deprivation mentality, you reduce the chance of overindulging. So AMAP, eat nutritious food!
By following these guidelines AMAP - As Much as Possible, you can keep yourself physically and mentally healthy and improve your ability to manage holiday stressors.
~Candice Chaloupka MA, LMHC, MCHC