Images of warm, crackling fireplace gatherings and sipping hot cider with beautifully wrapped presents at our feet catch us off guard during afternoon meetings at work, as the drumbeat of the holidays gets steadily louder. Our senses are enlivened and the air is charged with anticipation as we approach the middle of November, when normally mundane conversations around the office, now begin with “What’s on your holiday menu this year?” and “Where are you traveling too?”
You have to admit it. You’re giddy. So why is it that during this season, many are more stressed out and wiped out than they have been all year?
Ever wonder why holiday songs like Need a Little Christmas, and It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas are so popular?
They include lyrics like:
“Haul out the holly, put up the tree before my spirit falls again, Fill up the stocking, I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.” And…
“Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk, Is the hope of Janice and Jen; And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.”
It is because they and many other holiday tunes tell an easy to relate to tale about the hustle and bustle – the chaos of the season. To have an attitude that emits holiday joy, more than the spirit of the Grinch is primarily based on one thing: More sleep. It’s possible!
Sleep therapists and wellness experts say approaching the holidays with a mindset of sticking to a schedule and “everything in moderation” may sound blah, but actually puts more skip in your step and generally makes you more pleasant to be around. Something to keep in mind when entertaining guests and traveling to unfamiliar places for the holidays.
Here are a few quick tips to practice to ensure your personal (un-medicated) holiday cheer.
Don’t Sleep on Having a Holiday Prep Plan
We can all agree, mostly in hindsight every year, that it is easy to get sucked into trying to do too much for too many in too little time during the holidays. So it is ever more important for you to be militant about “sticking to the plan.” First, create a reasonable plan in early November (or earlier) that includes financial budget, and a budget for your time per activities you’ll sign up for during the holidays. Everything from Thanksgiving dinner and the day before and after, to how you’ll spend those days in between Christmas and the New Year.
Regulate or Delegate
Be protective about the time and money you have budgeted for certain activities. Fight the temptation to spend excess (money or time.) If you are able to make room in your time/finance budget, set aside the space for emergencies only. Don’t be shy about asking others to pitch in and speak up if you feel pressured to overextend yourself. The holidays should leave behind great memories, not regrets.
Stick to the Schedule: Don’t Skimp on Exercise or Sleep
Don’t think that just because you are on vacation, that you are entitled to throw all structure to the street. Remember that exercise helps you feel better in the long run (literally – run long). Don’t ditch your routine or make excuses because you are a long way from home. Find a family member that you need to catch up with and go for a walk or pop-in to a fitness class at a local gym.
Sleep is well-paired with exercise and your body not only loves it, it needs it. Resist the temptation to stay up late and prepare for those catch up sessions with family over a jaunt (as in walk, not drive) to the corner store. Don’t sabotage good sleep by binging on alcohol the night before. Keep the egg nog and peppermint drops to a minimum and bond over shoveling snow (it can happen) or a brisk walk.
There are other things that sabotage your rest during the holidays without you even realizing it. For example, turn off the holiday lights before you go to sleep at night. Why? Holiday lights simulate daylight. Your brain is tricked into staying up later or waking up sooner, and we lose that quality sleep we need at night. Instead of watching a movie with surround sound and the volume turned to “loudest,” end the evening with a board or card game.
Sleep Within Arm’s Reach
Finally, whether because of jet-lag and/or sleeping in an unfamiliar place, sleep deprivation during a time where your festive mood is expected to be ever-present, is really hard for you and others around you to deal with.
Many travelers find they have a hard time turning off their brain at night, especially in hotels with distracting noises such as elevators, ice machines, and hotel hallway chatter.
Sound+Sleep MINI masks these sounds to help induce natural drug-free sleep. Featuring the great benefits of the original Sound+Sleep machine, including whale song, ocean and fireplace, the MINI comes in a compact design that can easily fit inside your suitcase or overnight bag and complements any nightstand. The MINI is now available on Amazon and through many other online retailers.
Please visit www.asticorp.com for where to buy. Happy Holidays from all of us at ASTI.