Holiday Hustle: Do You Have a Flat Tire?
More often than not, the holidays seem to come fast and furious. This season is filled with excitement, joy and nostalgia. It can also bring stress, exhaustion, over-indulgence and financial hardship. In thinking about how to focus on health during the holidays, it is important to think of ourselves as whole people, embracing all the components of wellness.
Wellness is multidimensional, and so are we! There are 8 dimensions of wellness: physical, spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, occupational, environmental and financial. Each of the dimensions are interconnected with one another, similar to a circle or wheel. For example, when we feel financially stressed, we experience emotional stress which can sometimes lead to physical problems.
More likely than not, if you have been overlooking multiple areas of wellness before the holiday season, then they have become even more exaggerated during this time. This exaggeration makes them easier to identify, meaning the holidays are a good time to examine where our tire is flat (or where our wellness circle is “dented”) and what we can do to fill it back up.
Check out these quick tips in the 8 dimensions of wellness to keep your wellness wheel rolling this holiday season.
Physical: It is important to keep your normal exercise routine during the holidays. If you aren’t currently doing any exercise, aim for a 15-minute walk each day to start. It will help provide you energy, improve your mood and can even help your sleep. These are all good things during a busy time. Another great gift to yourself this holiday season is making an appointment for your annual physical.
Spiritual: The holiday season presents a great time to start or reignite daily time for prayer, meditation or quiet personal reflection. Try to set a goal to start each day with gratitude for the good things in your life this holiday season.
Emotional: Make some time to connect with someone you love. Giving the gift of your time can provide so much more value than a material gift. Try to embrace the changes each holiday season brings by sharing what you miss with someone you trust and leaning into the new traditions to come.
Occupational: Find ways to volunteer and give back either with your time, gifts or finances. Your employer may have an angel tree, canned food drive, or a collection for those less fortunate. Giving back can help us to find meaning and purpose.
Intellectual: The holiday season presents a great time to engage in learning. Check out a charity holiday music concert, or engage in a conversation with a friend to learn about their holiday traditions. Have you always wanted to try making grandma’s apple pie? Why not make this the year to try?
Financial: If your finances were already feeling a little out of control before the holidays, then they can most certainly leave you feeling overwhelmed during it. Work to set a budget and track expenses directly related to holiday spending separately so you can see if you are on track. Any budget, even a large one, can be blown quickly without tracking it.
Environmental: After turning the clocks back, it can be hard to get sunlight or any outside time. Focus on getting some natural light every day during the winter months. Try an outside activity like hiking or enjoy a walk with festive lights. This is also a good time to get rid of holiday decorations that you aren’t using but have been storing year after year. Reducing clutter will help you ring in the new year with less stress.
Social: Often, you may hear that you need to learn to say “NO” during the holidays. While it is important to not over-extend yourself, this can be a wonderful time to say “YES.” It can help you reunite with old friends and family and get to know co-workers better. You might be surprised at how truly fun holiday celebrations can be.
About the Author
Jamie Athas, MS, MPH, CHES is the director of Cone Health employee wellness program.