4 Healthy Ways To Fight Holiday Stress

'Tis the season to be stressed out. The holiday season contributes both joy and trauma to people's lives as they make frantic preparations, lose control over their diets, and forget to sleep. Here are four healthy holiday habits you may want to consider.

1. Get a Massage

The physical and emotional stresses of holiday preparations and visits can take a toll on your muscles. A session with a massage therapist can loosen tight, painful muscles, promoting a sense of deep calm and relaxation. Massage therapy also boosts the immune system, helping you ward off the illnesses that often accompany chronic stress.

2. See a Chiropractor

If your stress-related aches and pains are severe enough, you may require more than just a massage -- you may need a chiropractic evaluation. Chronically tight muscles can pull at the skeleton, causing or worsening spinal imbalances that will continue until you get the problem fixed. A chiropractor like All American Chiropractic Center can evaluate your posture and spinal alignment and then perform adjustments to relieve the physical stress that fuels your emotional stress.

3. Enjoy a Healthy Holiday Diet

Holiday dinners and parties tend to lead to New Years' weight loss resolutions. But overindulgence doesn't just expand your waistline -- it also places an extra strain on your body's resources, limiting your physiological ability to cope with stress. At the same time, obsession over holiday weight gain can cause emotional stress throughout the season. 

  • Take the guesswork out of your holiday meals by preparing and serving controlled portion sizes. Use smaller plates to make each plate appear more full, tricking the mind into thinking that you're stuffing yourself.
  • Eat a light "pre-meal" consisting of healthy, low-fat foods before heading off to that rich holiday dinner. You'll be less ravenous and thus more choosy about what you eat there.
  • Watch what you drink. Alcohol and non-diet soda both contain tons of empty calories. Booze also impairs your judgement and inhibitions, encouraging you to keep eating.

3. Get Your Sleep

The holidays can throw your sleep schedule off in a variety of ways, none of them good. If you've ever gotten up at the crack of dawn to put a turkey in the oven, then you understand this issue all too well. 

  • Look for quicker, simpler methods for preparing holiday meals -- including the option of buying a prepared meal from a restaurant or store. Simply outsourcing the single most time-consuming item on your menu could make a world of difference in how much sleep you get the night before the feast.
  • Holiday vacations can encourage people to sleep in and/or party unusually hard, which can confuse the body into a state of insomnia. Focus on keeping to your normal bedtime as closely as possible.

Taking better care of your muscles, spinal alignment, dietary needs, and sleep habits can help you enjoy the season in a happier, healthier, more relaxed manner. So put wellness on your list of must-haves for a happy holiday!