Four ways to look after your wellbeing over the holidays

The holiday season can be busy and stressful for a number of reasons. But it’s important to take some time to relax and recharge. Here are four ways that Virgin Pulse recommends looking after yourself over the holidays…

1. Unplug and relax 

According to Virgin Pulse, each year, more than half of American workers don’t take all their vacation days. This year, try to take some time off over the holidays – being constantly connected is no good for your brain and you’ll benefit from taking some time for yourself. 

Whether you’ve booked time off or not, try to set some time aside over the holiday period where you switch off the phone and properly relax. Even if it’s only one day, or a few hours on the most important days, unplug and enjoy yourself.

2. Prioritise sleep

Virgin Pulse has four tips for prioritising sleep:

  • Introduce a regular wake and bedtime routine
    This means seven days a week and keeping it up where possible in the holidays, not just occasionally. This will help your body anticipate sleep, and help you to fall asleep naturally. If bedtimes are hard to plan – because you’ve got a packed schedule of activities – then aim for similar wake up times.
  • Put the day to rest
    Get rid of the thoughts running through your mind before you get into bed. Write down what’s on your mind and keep a pen and paper by your bed so that if you wake up in the night you can add to it. Tell yourself that these thoughts are committed to paper so you don’t need to keep thinking about them.
  • Go easy on the eggnogg
    Socialising during the holidays often revolves around alcohol. While it might help you relax in the short term, once you get to sleep it prevents you from sinking into the deep restorative sleep you need. The result is you wake up feeling sluggish rather than refreshed.
  • Reserve the bed for sleep
    If you’re working from home over the holidays, try and keep work out of the bedroom – and ideally keep all screens out too. You need to teach yourself that the bed is for sleeping, so if you wake up and really can’t get back to sleep, get out of bed. Only return when your eyelids are heavy and you feel sleepy.

3. Practise gratitude

Gratitude has become something of a buzzword in recent years, with many people declaring its benefits. According to research by Dr Robert A Emmons and Dr Michael E McCullough, expressing gratitude can make you happier.

The two psychologists have done a lot of research on gratitude. In one study, they asked people to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. Some were asked to focus on things they were grateful for, while others had to write about daily irritations. 

After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude had a more optimistic outlook on life. They also exercised more and visited the doctor less than the other group.

4. Establish healthy habits

With the new year just around the corner, the holiday period can be a great time to start thinking about the healthy habits you want to encourage in your life. 

If you want to get a headstart before January 1st, here are some ideas from Virgin Pulse: 

  • Swap out alcoholic drinks for lower calorie options
  • Opt for one cheat meal a week rather than overindulging
  • Encourage everyone to join you for a walk and enjoy some quality time while getting in some steps

For more tips and advice on staying healthy over the holiday period, visit Virgin Pulse.

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