'Tis the season for Christmas de-stress tips. We're secretly counting down the days until the holidays are over (sorry, but somebody had to say it!), because that means no more playing host, no more long lines at the stores, and no more gifts to wrap. In order to maintain our sanity until December 26, we're taking some cues from Dr. Oz and following his advice for de-stressing during the holidays.
1. Get your sleep.
We all know how important sleep is, but it may feel impossible to catch up after one too many late nights spent prepping for the holidays. And to make matters worse, that glass of wine you sip to relax before bed can actually reduce the quality of your sleep. The good news is you don't have to give up alcohol entirely this Christmas; just cut yourself off two to three hours before bed.
"Alcohol helps you fall asleep, but it doesn't keep you asleep. It actually messes up the quality of the sleep you get. You'll pass out (which is not quite sleep), but when you wake up two hours later, embarrassed about what just happened, you don't sleep for the rest of the night," Dr. Oz says.
2. Spend your time on other people.
After spending hours decking the halls, researching the perfect gifts for your loved ones, or cooking your family's favorite holiday foods, the only person you want to focus on is yourself. But Dr. Oz recommends doing things for other people to boost your holiday mood.
"The best thing you can do is give time; it's not about money," he says. "The most valuable thing we have as humans is the ability to give time to each other. It's always defined who we are as a species, and it allows us to live longer — so don't give up on that. It's the whole purpose of the holidays."
Helping an elderly neighbor shovel snow from their driveway or volunteering at a soup kitchen will mean more to people than any gift. Plus, think of it this way: A present will cost you money, but your time is free to give.
3. Jam out to your favorite holiday tunes.
Pat yourself on the back if you've been listening to Chrismas tunes since November. According to Dr. Oz, music helps you fall asleep and, most importantly, it helps you stay asleep. Of course, we don't recommend blasting rock and roll. Instead, turn on some soothing strains, like classical music or acoustic Christmas carols.
4. Take a deep breath.
It sounds cliché, but taking a moment to just breathe in and out deeply can instantly relax your body. If you feel yourself starting to stress, stop what you're doing and find a quiet space. Then, practice taking deep breaths through your nose and release them through your mouth. You may find it useful to incorporate deep breathing exercises with guided meditations or focused relaxation videos.
5. Don't stress about food.
We all look forward to the Christmas season because it's our one excuse to indulge. Of course, we just feel sick after we've stuffed ourselves silly. To prevent any guilt about overeating, Dr. Oz recommends chowing down on foods we love that are also good for us. This way you won't feel deprived of your favorite foods.
If you're attending a Christmas party and are worried there won't be any healthy options, eat ahead of time. Then, you can nibble at the party without worrying about over indulging. Dr. Oz also suggests following each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.