Thanksgiving is behind us, December is upon us, and the count down to the holidays is on. As wellness practitioners, we're constantly focusing on taking care of our physical health, whether that means eating right, exercising, taking care of our skin, or whatever else. But with the holidays being such a busy time for many of us, both personally and professionally, it's hard to find the time to take care of ourselves. We can't let lack of time stop us from being our best selves, though. We have to practice what we preach: overall wellness. Raj Gupta, DC, suggests making your overall wellness a higher priority on your holiday to do list.
"Physical exercise makes the mental strain of the season much more manageable and can substantially decrease the stress one feels from all the demands," says Gupta, author of Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives, and founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center (Eatontown, NJ). "Exercise and some refreshing thinking and relaxing techniques help if done on a consistent basis."
To help us get ready to tackle the holidays, Dr. Gupta is sharing with us his top four tips to combatting holiday stress.
- Walk somewhere besides the mall: According to Gupta, a brisk half-hour walk a day relaxes the brain and improves sleep. A study by California State University found a 10-minute walk increases energy, alters mood and can bring a positive outlook for up to two hours. "There’s a rhythm to it that relaxes the brain," Gupta says. "It’s a proven stress-reducer. Movement makes the worries keep their distance."
- Exercise while you sit: Whether you're working from a chair or shopping from one, a chair dip exercise is a handy way to tone and energize between your computer screen times. Place two chairs facing each other, about three feet apart. Sit on the edge of one chair and grip the edge with your hands. Place your heels on the edge of the other chair. Slide forward so your rear end clears the edge, then lower yourself until your elbows are between 45-90 degrees. Slowly push yourself back up. It works your triceps, shoulders, and core muscle just in time for those holiday sweets.
- Alternate alcohol with water: Many people over indulge during the holidays and it has a detrimental affect on their wellness. Water brings weight loss and keeps your body in balance for all kinds of stressors. "A whopping 75 percent of all Americans are dehydrated," Gupta says. "Staying properly hydrated is a panacea for what ails you—from daytime fatigue to headaches to back and joint pain to losing weight."
- Give gratitude: In the rush to get everything done, we forget to appreciate what we have. Remembering to pause and reflect brings a perspective that calms us down. "Take a few moments to really relish your health and all your blessings," Gupta says. "The holidays are a perfect time to remember all that."