Stress: Not Something to Be Thankful For

24 Nov
Pro tip: Do it early!

Pro tip: Do it early!

Some people thrive off of change. I’m not one of those people. I’m a bit of a control freak who likes to have my ducks in a row and Plans B-Z at the ready should anything go awry.

That’s why the holiday season is both a blessing and a curse for someone like me. This time of year brings on a number of stressors and unforeseen obstacles that you can’t really plan for. Between travel, gifts, loved ones not being there, loved ones there who you wish weren’t and the break from your routine, it’s enough to make you scream. I’d like to be able to role with the punches, but I’d also like to know where they are coming from.

Stress is one of many factors that can derail your weight-loss journey, causing a negative effect on your health. It can cause you to overeat, get headaches and even depression. And no one wants that when there are babies to hold and pie to eat.

I’ll be travelling this year, as I always do for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ll get to see a lot of family that I haven’t seen in a while and a new addition who I can’t wait to hold (hey, Harper!). The things I can prepare for are already taken care of. While I can’t control who makes the potato salad, here are a few things I’ve done (and you can, too) to alleviate some unwanted pressures.

1. Clean up. Because I’ll be gone for a few days, I cleaned up my apartment before I left. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a slob, especially when I’m in beast mode. But even still, no one wants to return to a messy  home. The stress of getting to and from the airport, rental cars, lugging luggage, etc., is enough to make you want to shoot yourself. Having a clear path from the door to your made-up bed will only make you smile on your return home.

2. Stay hydrated. One of the many benefits of water—besides keeping your internal system flowing—is what it does for you on the plane. Cabin pressure makes the air very dry. And if you’re a nervous  flier, you’ll be tempted to test out the mini bottles of alcohol. Resist temptation. Alcohol only causes further dehydration, which can make you even more uncomfortable on the plane. Drink some water or some hot tea to keep a cool head until the plane lands.

3. Preparation is key. Just like your weight-loss journey, your travel journey won’t take you far unless you’re prepared. Friends can attest that I have a horrible habit of packing my bags in the wee early hours the day of my departure. What can I say? I work best under pressure. But what they don’t know is I’ve already picked up my clothes from the cleaners and separated out what I’m going to take with me while I’m away. The next step is just folding and rolling into the suitcase. I’ll get eight hours of sleep if it kills me.

4. Set aside some me time. I’ll be with at least 30 family members over the course of five days. At some point, I’m going to need to sit in a quiet corner by myself. And that’s OK. I’m introverted; it’s what we introverts do. If the prospect of being in a crowd is too much for you, go for a walk. Take a book to a corner. Pop in your headphones for a few minutes. A little me time will make the “we” time much better.

5. Don’t forget who you were before you left. Beast mode has been really good for the past few months, but now I’ve got to set that aside for a week. That’s fine because we all need time off. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop taking care of myself. I’ll still be mentally check-listing the food that I eat and the activities I’ve done. I’ll set aside a couple of days to go for a run just so I don’t lose that part of myself. And maybe I’ll get a few people to come along with me.

This is the time of year to be thankful, and I’m ever so thankful for my family, friends, health and livelihood.

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