10 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress With Fitness and Nutrition

If you, like many, find that holidays have a special place on your list of anxiety and gloom-inducing triggers, then the following fitness and nutrition ideas might just be what you need. Read the full article here: http://wapo.st/1NV7xKs
  1. 1.
    Eat when you are hungry.
    A common mistake people make is to skip meals in anticipation of the big buffet. The downside: You feel bad from being too hungry before the meal and overly full after.
  2. 2.
    Make smart choices and be picky with indulgences.
    Indulge in the dishes that are special, not the things (store-bought chips and cookies) that you can have any time of the year. Grandma’s apple pie, on the other hand? Go for it.
  3. 3.
    Take your time.
    Take some time to look at the spread before digging in. Socialize with family and friends. Enjoy the sights and sounds. Eventually, home in on the two or three items that look the most delectable. Use moderation. This is probably not your last meal.
  4. 4.
    Stay hydrated.
    Dehydration has been shown to affect mood negatively, so try to have at least eight glasses of water a day.
  5. 5.
    Take a deep breath.
    You can do dirga breathing flat on your back, seated or even while standing in a long retail checkout line — here's how: You place one hand on the belly, the other on the chest. As you breathe in, the lower abdomen starts lifting, followed by middle abdomen and then the chest. When you exhale, the chest drops first, followed by the middle abdomen and, last, the lower abdomen. The breath moves like a wave.
  6. 6.
    Be realistic about expectations.
    Being realistic in your expectations and carving out alone time (and letting friends and family know in a graceful way that you need some time to be the best you) are also helpful in staying centered and grounding during the holidays, she says.
  7. 7.
    Visualize a happy place.
    Imagine yourself in a safe place. It can be real or fictitious. Imagine colors that you associate with calm. Think of sounds that are pleasing to you. It may be silence. Feel the perfect temperature on your skin. Sense the perfect smells and tastes. You are transporting yourself to a safe and calm place as anxiousness arises.
  8. 8.
    Be present.
    Mindfulness employs many of the same tools that visualization does, except you are staying present, not going to the beach. Notice your breath, talk about what you see, hear, smell and feel on your skin — be fully present.
  9. 9.
    Stick to your routine.
    Get the sleep you need and get the exercise you need. For some people, the daily routine is going for a run. For others it’s going to the gym. Plan ahead, bring the gear needed (running shoes, yoga mat, workout wear).
  10. 10.
    Loosen up.
    When we are anxious and stressed, we often have tightness in the shoulders and neck. Relax those muscles by tightening each muscle group of the body one at a time and then slowly releasing them.