It has been said that you have nothing if you don’t have your health.

I often see parents putting their spouse and kids before themselves regarding their own health. I don’t genuinely suggest reprioritizing; however, I’d like you to consider being mindful of your own health and taking steps toward self-care for one cannot take care of others if they are not heathy themselves. Such is the case as one’s body begins to become fatigued, overloaded with stress, and ultimately suppressed in terms of immune function. Then sickness in some form strikes. Understandably, it’s pretty challenging to have a regular self-care routine on a daily basis, but even more challenging with the rigors of the holiday season. Below are five simple rules and strategies that could help restore your body’s tired cells and reinvigorate you.

1. Prioritize your time
Holidays can be exhausting often due to work pressure, finances, travel, friends, and family gatherings, and yes, inevitable drama! As we all know, this chaos can stress you out beyond belief. An easy step to reduce stress levels is simply making a routine or modifying an existing one. For example, some people grocery shop by memory as they traverse the store. Making a shopping list can make shopping more efficient regarding both time and money. Even further, some stores have free delivery, which could save you even the time of going to the store.
Then there are the countless gatherings. When multiple groups of people want to get together, consider floating the idea to them for a large group outing. This could save lots of time that would have been spent on planning and travel to each individual event. That in turn would free up a significant amount of time for you to focus on YOU. Also, remember, you have the right to say “no.” Sometimes taking that liberty can allow you avoid a specific event that you know is likely to drain your physical and emotional energy.
Prioritizing also should be considered regarding sleep. Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean giving yourself a curfew is a bad idea. It could be a sleep or socializing curfew. Just setting a time aside when everything gets shut down. The body craves routine and with all the stress of the holiday season, having optimized rest from a set sleep schedule can be priceless.

2. Choose to eat healthily
It may be hard to avoid delicious, sugary, carbohydrate loaded, processed dishes during the holiday season. However, not every item is necessarily unhealthy. Pay attention to the menu and seek out vegetable based or dishes. Another common strategy is if you are going to be attending a gathering or event, eat a salad or some fruit before you go. This will allow you to eat something (healthy) before you head out so you’re not feeling famished when you arrive; that is only going to increase the likelihood of overindulgence on the stuff you’re trying to limit.

3. Meditation can help
It can seem impossible to find time to exercise or meditate but research has shown that as little as five minutes a day can reduce perceived stress levels, which in turn reduces production and circulation of stress hormones, allowing the immune system to be in a more robust state. These five minutes can be an opportunity to review your to-do list for the day while taking a deep breathe from the busy-ness. If you’re not one for either exercise or meditation, concentrate on the breathing part. Certainly, you’ve heard the expression to, “take a breathe.” I challenge you to see the craziness around you, take that breath and consider letting the stress around you be what it is. That doesn’t mean you have to let your body also become stressed. A calm mind and body is ultimately more efficient, more clear thinking, and healthier.

4. Create a rejuvenation routine
Do you have a nighttime routine other than brushing your teeth and flossing? It can be turning off electronics, writing your to-do list for the next day, or a few minutes of calming meditation. For our patients, I often recommend they get the to-do list or checking emails done early in the evening as often these tasks can increase even subconscious stress and lead to less restful, rejuvenating sleep. Then set aside a few minutes before going to sleep for pleasure reading, prayer, meditation, or something that is not overly stimulating or reminding you of the stress of the day you just got through or the day ahead. Creating this sort of nightly routine can help your body and brain rest and recover.

5. Give yourself the gift of health during the holidays
Of course, we couldn’t end this post without reminding you to make sure you stop by for acupuncture, massage, or a chiropractic adjustment to keep your body tuned up and ready for the holidays! All three of these can be a part of one’s health and wellness routine. We encourage you to find the one or one’s that help you keep life in balance so you can be at your best during the holiday season.