The holidays usually bring more opportunities than usual to spend quality time with immediate and extended family members. Spending time with family can be a great health booster for some, while for others, it may detract from your health. Today, we want to give you tips on how to get the most out of family time during the holidays and how to manage stress, too.
The Benefits of Being Around Family
Let’s start with the positives. Spending time with family can have numerous positive effects on health and well-being:
- Reduced Stress: Being around loved ones can lower your stress levels by providing you with emotional support and a sense of belonging.
- Improved Mental Health: Spending time with family members can decrease your risk of depression and anxiety, fostering a sense of security and happiness.
- Emotional Support: No one has known you as long and sometimes as well as family members. They can offer a support system during challenging times, providing comfort, advice, and empathy in a way that perhaps your friends or coworkers cannot.
- Better Physical Health: Studies suggest that people who spend time with their family often have better physical health, potentially due to the emotional support and encouragement to engage in healthier behaviors that they receive.
- Increased Happiness: Sharing moments and creating memories with your family members can bring joy and happiness for years to come, contributing to overall life satisfaction.
- Stronger Relationships: By making the time to create special memories each year, you will build and strengthen bonds, fostering a sense of connection and unity.
- Longer Life Expectancy: Research indicates that individuals with strong family ties tend to live longer, possibly due to the emotional and social support they receive.
Life gets busy and it may seem easier to skip out on certain family gatherings to get a few extra hours of work in or run holiday errands. But time spent with family can be a kind of self-care. Prioritize your health by committing to enjoy family time!
How to Cope When Family Time Isn’t Fun
For some, seeing family at the holidays is a dreaded event each year causing loads of anxiety. Holiday gatherings can be stressful, especially when family dynamics come into play. Here are some strategies to help manage your stress and protect your well-being during these occasions:
- Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that family dynamics might not change. Accepting this reality can help you manage your own expectations and reduce stress.
- Plan Ahead: Prepare yourself mentally by anticipating potential triggers and challenging situations. Have a plan in place for how you’ll handle stressful moments.
- Limit Your Stay: If possible, plan shorter visits or have an exit strategy. Knowing you have the option to leave when things become overwhelming can lessen your stress.
- Focus on Positive Interactions: Seek out and focus on positive interactions with family members or activities that bring you joy during the gathering. You get to choose who you engage with!
- Find Allies: Identify supportive family members or friends who can provide emotional support or act as a buffer during difficult situations. Maybe even come up with a signal or code word between you and an ally so they know when you need help.
- Practice Self-Care: Prioritize your own self-care before and after gatherings. Whether it’s a face mask, a favorite movie and meal or a coffee catch up with a great friend, plan activities that relax and rejuvenate you to help manage stress.
- Set Boundaries: Don’t feel obligated to have conversations or participate in activities that make you uncomfortable. Politely excuse yourself from discussions or things that are distressing.
- Shift Your Perspective: Try to view challenging moments as temporary and focus on the bigger picture. Remind yourself of the positive parts of the gathering or what you’re grateful for.
- Have Coping Strategies Ready: Practice deep breathing, mindfulness or grounding exercises to manage stress in the moment. Having these tools can help you stay calm.
- Create Alternative Plans: If a family gathering becomes too stressful, consider creating your own holiday plans that bring you comfort and joy.
Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your well-being, even during holiday gatherings. Taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally is important, and it’s okay to set boundaries or take breaks when needed.
Whether you look forward to or dread family time at the holidays, the quality of time spent together matters more than the quantity. Meaningful interactions, open communication, and genuine connections foster the greatest health benefits.
Let Us Help You Embrace the Journey
At Baer-Fit, our certified trainers work closely with you to understand your unique fitness goals and design customized workout and meal plans to get you there. Not only do we provide you with the roadmap to get you where you want to go, but we are with you each step of the way, holding you accountable and celebrating all the milestones.
To learn more, visit our Contact page and send us a message! We can’t wait to learn more about you.
You are unique and so is your body! Before starting any new health routine, always be sure to talk with your doctor to make sure it is right for your needs.