Originally Posted December 2018
Updated December 2019
Many responsibilities such as work events, social gatherings, time with the family, travel, and shopping make demands on our time as we move through the holidays. Unfortunately, many people neglect or overlook the most important holiday obligation; self-care.
Taking care of your health is a full-time job, but is easily neglected during times of busyness and stress such as the holidays. Whether it be over-scheduling that leads to fatigue, anxiety over finding the perfect gift (check out our holiday gift guide here), or simply the colder weather, many people experience a decrease in health during the holidays. You can protect yourself from declining mental and physical wellness this holiday season by employing the following self-care tips.
Set Time Aside for Yourself
Being constantly on the go can be exhausting for anyone. For those who are suffering from a thyroid condition, the busyness and social obligations of the holidays can be exceptionally taxing and contribute to a worsening of symptoms. You can reduce the risk of increased symptom intensity by intentionally scheduling time to relax, recharge, and de-stress.
Additionally, willingness to excuse yourself from particularly stressful situations or events is also important. In times of stress do not be afraid to disengage and refocus.
For those with a thyroid condition it is important to carefully strategize how to spend energy throughout the day. Combining activities whenever possible, limiting outings, and always having a plan can also help reduce the risk of exhaustion and excess stress.
Additionally, prepping on days leading up to an event can further reduce the risk of fatigue and anxiety that may be experienced at the event itself. Take the time to make a plan of attack for socializing, shopping, cooking or any other holiday activity.
Stick to Your Diet
Food is a central component of many holiday traditions. These are often accompanied by pressure to overindulge in tasty delicacies. However, those with a thyroid condition or other chronic disease should do their best to stay on their prescribed diet. Consuming allergenic or inflammatory foods can contribute to physical discomfort and mental dysfunction. Common dietary concerns are gluten, dairy, soy, and caffeine. Dietary needs are different for every patient so be sure to check in with your medical practitioner and get a list of foods to be avoided during the holidays.
Combat the Cold
Thyroid disease can limit the ability to maintain proper body temperature and can even worsen during the winter months – learn more about how the cold weather affects thyroid function here. Therefore, thyroid patients are often susceptible to the cold weather that comes with the holidays. During these times, be sure to bundle up with appropriate gear including jackets, sweaters, gloves, scarves, hats, thick scarves, etc. Enjoying plenty of warm foods and drinks such as soups and ciders can also help keep the body warm.
Stay Healthy for the Holidays
The holidays are a time of celebration and fun. However, being overwhelmed with the many different obligations of the season can harm your health and detract from the holiday revelry. By remaining vigilant and employing the various self-care tips mentioned above, you can reduce stress, avoid fatigue, and safeguard your health to ensure your holidays are full of joy and celebration.