Gift shopping – check. Decorating, cooking, cleaning – triple check. Picking up relatives from the airport – wait, what time are they getting here?!
If this sounds anything like your holiday checklist, you might be feeling more frantic than festive! Making too many plans and rushing around can leave you feeling tired and irritable – exactly what you want to avoid during one of the most exciting times of the year. To keep up the holiday cheer, make time for small doses of relaxation and self-care to help create a more stress-free holiday season. Use these 10 tips for managing stress during the holidays so you can enjoy every moment of the celebrations.
#1. Take a power nap
Feeling overwhelmed? Take a break from all the excitement with a quick snooze — according to the National Sleep Foundation, short naps can reduce tension.1 Aim to get 10 to 15 minutes of shut-eye between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., when your body’s blood sugar begins to dip. Naps may also help improve your mood and alertness – great news for extra-busy days.2
#2. Sip some tea
Various studies have shown that drinking tea, specifically black and green teas, may reduce your stress levels.3 These teas contain theanine, an amino acid that may lessen anxiety and encourage you to feel calm.4 Plan a daily “tea time” when you sit down for a break, brew a cup and unwind. For a little holiday flair, try peppermint or spiced chai.
#3. Get a breath of fresh air
Getting outside and connecting with nature may help decrease your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and lower your heart rate.5 Make this part of your everyday schedule by planning a short walk in the mornings, during your lunch breaks or in the evenings. It’s a great way to get moving without breaking a sweat!
#4. Free up your schedule
The holidays are full of obligations and invites, but it’s OK to say no. If you’re feeling overcommitted, check out your potential plans for the month and choose one event you’d like to skip. Giving yourself the time to make your own plans or just staying at home and relaxing are helpful ways to cope with holiday stress.
#5. Treat yourself
The holidays might be a season of giving, but that doesn’t mean you should give up your time for self-care. Take 10 minutes today to do something for you. There are lots of different ways to practice self-care – try choosing something that you enjoy and helps you to relax. Perhaps it’s as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, or simply savoring some peace and quiet.
#6. Have a good laugh
Laughter might be the best medicine during the holidays! Letting loose and laughing could help you to de-stress6 and may even keep your heart healthy, according to research.7 Infuse a little humor into the festivities by playing a fun game with your kids, watching a rom-com or getting tickets to a comedy show.
#7. Go offline
Ever feel left out after seeing photos of your friends having a great time during the holidays? Social media envy is a real thing! But a quick break from the internet may help — one study found that active social media users who took a five-day break from Facebook had lower levels of cortisol in their bodies.8
If you find yourself spending too much time on social media, sign off or disable your notifications, whether it’s for a couple of hours or a few days. When you unplug, you may even find yourself spending more time engaging with your loved ones!
#8. Turn up the holiday tunes
It’s more than just an enjoyable pastime – listening to music may help reduce your stress levels.9 It’s the perfect way to relax and get into the holiday spirit. If you start to feel anxiety creeping up, take a break and put on your favorite songs. The best part of this holiday stress management technique is you can do it anywhere – driving around town, making dinner, or relaxing by the fire!
#9. Put on your dancin’ shoes
Did you know you can unwind and improve your mood by being active?10 Physical activity encourages your brain to release endorphins, natural chemicals that may help you feel happier.10 A 2017 study found most people noticed a mood boost after exercising for 10 minutes or less.11 So go ahead, lace up those sneakers for a brisk walk or fitness class. Get your groove on at a dance studio or bust out an impromptu dance party with your kids. Have fun with it!
#10. Start a new tradition
‘Tis the season to make memories. If you’re used to certain holiday traditions that no longer align with your health goals (we see you, holiday cookies), switch it up! Get crafty by creating festive decorations as a family or signing up for a local 5K such as an ugly sweater run or Santa walk instead.
The holidays are a special time to spend with family and friends, especially if you only see only them once each year. If you feel overwhelmed by plans and preparation, coping with holiday stress can be as simple as scheduling time for yourself each day. Even if you have only 10 minutes to spare, try these tips to get one step closer to a stress-free holiday season!
If you’re ready to feel your best during the holidays, we’d love to help! Jenny Craig’s science-backed program includes delicious chef-crafted meals and personalized support to help you reach your weight loss and health goals. Book your free appointment with a consultant today!
Try this Mashed Cauliflower recipe for a healthy alternative to a dinner classic!
1 head cauliflower
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
Cut cauliflower into florets.
Place in 1 inch of water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook covered 10-12 minutes until soft.
Combine cauliflower, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor and puree until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives.
If you are on the Jenny Craig program, use the guide below when considering your other meals for the day. Check with your consultant before making any swaps or changes to your plan to ensure you stay on track!
Cauliflower (Fresh & Free Addition)
Garlic (Fresh & Free Addition)
Olive oil (limited food)
Salt (Fresh & Free Addition)
Ground pepper (Fresh & Free Addition)
Chives (Fresh & Free Addition)
There’s always something to look forward to during the holidays, whether it’s a well-deserved vacation or extra time to spend with family. Getting away from “work mode” for a few days or even a week is a great way to start the New Year feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. But before you head out for the break, are you wondering how to get organized at work? Take some time now to prepare for your return so that it’s easy to jump right back in. Follow these tips to organize everything from your desktop to your calendar, so you can unwind and fully enjoy the holidays — it’s all about having balance!
#1. Plan ahead.
Planning early allows you to break tasks into small, manageable sizes instead of handling everything at once prior to leaving the office. Look at your to-do list for the upcoming month. Can you get a head start on any projects? If so, how much extra time do you need daily to get them all done? Getting started early helps avoid last-minute rushes and logging long hours before your holiday vacation.
#2. Touch base with your coworkers.
If your office doesn’t officially close during the holidays, it’s important to designate a point person who can answer questions about your projects. Create a coverage plan for the people who will help out while you’re away. Try to anticipate what questions or issues might come up. Depending on how long you’re gone, you may need to schedule a quick meeting and send a follow-up email – it’ll help avoid miscommunication and serve as a reminder for anything that could be easily forgotten. Proactive planning helps ensure that your colleagues are prepared to handle any issues that arise during your absence, allowing you to enjoy your holiday uninterrupted.
#3. Communicate with external clients or vendors.
Reach out to your clients/vendors a couple of weeks before leaving the office to tell them who their point of contact will be while you’re away. A calendar reminder can go a long way – consider sending one a few days before leaving to answer any last-minute questions. Set up an out-of-office message to automatically direct others to your administrative assistant, supervisor or coworker and include their contact information. Keep it short and sweet to avoid confusion.
#4. Clean up your calendar.
Ensure your calendar is updated before you leave the office so you won’t be scheduled for meetings while you’re gone. If possible, schedule some time as “unavailable” the first day you get back. Reserve this time to get up to speed on projects after your vacation. This is also the perfect chance to clean up your calendar by declining any standing meetings you missed and to evaluate anything new that’s been added to your calendar.
#5. Organize your desk (and desktop!).
Spend an hour decluttering. Recycle old papers or notes and place information your coworkers or supervisor will need in a spot that’s easy to access. Now’s the perfect time to break out that stylish desk organizer and put it to use! Dust off your monitors, keyboard, mouse and phone to keep everything fresh and clean when you get back into the office. Delete outdated files and move all backup files to your company’s server, or give your colleagues permission to access them. There’s nothing worse than getting locked out of a project when deadlines are looming!
#6. Check in during your time off.
Although this might sound counterintuitive, it may help reduce your stress and workload upon returning to the office. However, if a brief check-in turns into working during the holidays, it can prevent you from fully enjoying your time off. If looking at your emails reduces your stress levels, set a specific time limit and check them. But if you find that it gives you anxiety, give yourself permission to turn off your notifications for a few days to truly unwind.
If you plan to read emails, set some guidelines so you can still enjoy your break. Try checking messages for less than an hour in the morning to allow time to handle questions, then move on with your day. Try to avoid logging on right before enjoying a holiday event to prevent potential work issues from distracting you during the festivities.
#7. Create a plan for your return.
Reduce your stress on your first day back in the office by planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time to catch up. Check your calendar and avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings or conference calls. Check in with anyone who covered for you to receive any important updates that may have happened while you were away. You’ll get right back into the swing of things in no time, but enjoy your time off to the fullest!
Getting some time away from the office is a great way to celebrate the holidays and reward yourself for your hard work. Take a few extra steps to get prepared and organized before you leave – it’ll make it much easier for your coworkers to adjust and help you to avoid any surprises once you’re back. After all, the new year is the perfect time to start healthy resolutions at home and work!
Need a little help with your resolutions? Learn more about the healthy strategies you can use during the holidays by setting up your free appointment with Jenny Craig today.
If you had to choose your favorite meal of the day, which one would it be? If you answered ‘breakfast,’ you may be onto something good. Not only is your morning meal a great way to start the day, but it can also help support your health and weight loss goals. Mounting research also indicates that skipping breakfast may contribute to weight gain as well as other health complications, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure levels and diabetes.1
So grab a cup of coffee and whip up some scrambled eggs — here are ten science-backed reasons why breakfast is best.
1. Your Waistline Will Benefit
One of the simplest ways your weight loss efforts can benefit is by eating breakfast! Studies have found that by eating a substantial meal in the morning and reducing your caloric intake at night (also known as front-loading), you may be able to lose more weight than by doing the reverse.2 This is because your body follows a daily cycle, typically divided into two 12-hour periods, that are dictated by daytime and nighttime. Known as your circadian rhythm, or “internal clock,” your body naturally uses fuel more efficiently in the morning than it does in the evening. So, by eating breakfast, you’ll be working with your body’s natural rhythm — which in turn may support your weight loss goals.
2. Feel More Satiated Throughout the Day
We’ve all been there: you’re in a rush to get out the door in the morning and before you know it, it’s almost noon — and you haven’t had anything to eat. Ravenous, you scarf down anything you can get your hands on (like the donuts in the breakroom). Between work, family and other obligations, breakfast can often take a backseat, especially if it adds another item to your to-do list. But there’s a reason you should have something convenient and healthy to eat in the a.m.: studies show that people who tend to eat a hearty breakfast are more likely to feel satiated throughout the day (so you won’t even look twice at that pastry).3 Start your day off right and enjoy a morning meal — if you’re in a pinch for time, try prepping something the night before, or have a ready-made, pre-prepared meal on hand to take with you on-the-go.
3. Avoid Overeating Later in the Day
While you may think passing up breakfast will reduce your caloric intake, research says otherwise. Why? Because when you skip your morning meal, you’re more prone to overeat later in the day — which can lead to weight gain.4 Experts agree that eating breakfast is a valuable strategy to help avoid overcompensating with high-calorie, less-than-stellar options late at night.5
4. Have More Energy
After sleeping for 7-9 hours at night, your body needs fuel to power its daily functions. Skip breakfast, and your body may start to use other energy sources (like your muscles).6 For sustained energy, aim for a mix of protein and healthy carbohydrates that your body will digest slower than refined carbohydrates (like pastries or sugary cereal). A few excellent choices include a veggie and egg scramble, a nonfat plain Greek yogurt sprinkled with fresh berries and a few almonds, or a piece of toast with a teaspoon of nut butter and a small piece of fruit.
5. Kickstart Your Metabolism
Research supports the theory that eating breakfast may help your metabolism.7 A recent study found that even if breakfast increased a person’s overall daily caloric intake, the additional calories were offset by other energy-burning benefits.8 Since your metabolism is most efficient in the morning, you’ll be fueling your body at a time when it’s primed to digest food.
6. Potentially Lower Your Levels of “LDL” or “Bad” Cholesterol
Yet another reason to eat breakfast — your cholesterol levels may improve. Research indicates that individuals who regularly skip their morning meal tend to have higher levels of “LDL” or “bad” cholesterol — which can eventually lead to heart disease.9-10
7. You May Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes
Starting your day with a healthy meal can also help to control your blood sugar — as people who eat breakfast tend to have steadier levels throughout the day.11 If you have Type 2 diabetes, experts recommend eating breakfast as well — as skipping it has been shown to spike blood sugar levels for the remainder of the day.12
8. You’ll Get More Nutrients
You’re likely to consume more vitamins and minerals if your day includes breakfast.13 So go ahead and grab a piece of vitamin-rich fruit, protein-packed eggs or a fiber-filled bowl of oatmeal — you’ll be providing your body with essential nutrients!
9. Improve Your Focus at Work
Feel like you’re easily distracted on the job? Breakfast can help with that, too. Without sufficient fuel in the morning, your body can go into ‘conservation mode’ — and your brain may start to slow all your bodily processes to conserve energy, which may interfere with your performance.14 Research has also found a strong correlation between children who eat breakfast and higher academic results — so breakfast is a good idea for the entire family.15
10. Keep Your BMI in a Healthy Range
Before you forgo a bowl of oatmeal, consider this: breakfast skippers tend to have higher BMI’s than breakfast eaters.16 It makes sense, considering you’re more likely to avoid late-night snacks and feel more satiated throughout the day when you have a morning meal.
Ready to start your day right with a well-balanced breakfast? Jenny Craig has a wide variety of chef-crafted, nutritious options that can help you reach your weight loss goals. Contact us today to book your free appointment!
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. So, if you’ve been struggling to adjust without Daylight Saving Time, just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel (literally). After the solstice, days will slowly become longer as it gets closer to spring.
In 2018, the winter solstice falls on Friday, December 21 in the mid-afternoon/early evening for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere.1 But what does more darkness and less light mean for your body? Here’s how this yearly change might affect your health and how you feel.
You may feel extra tired.
The winter solstice’s shorter day and longer night might interfere with your natural circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that helps regulate your body’s physical, mental and behavioral changes.2 This cycle runs parallel to the 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness in a typical day and night. But with less light and more darkness, your body may feel more sluggish than usual.
Low levels of vitamin D could also be to blame. According to Harvard Health, people who have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30, may have low levels of vitamin D.3 This is because vitamin D is stored in fat and when it’s not circulating through the bloodstream, it can’t be used as effectively by the body.3 Click here to find out if your BMI falls within a healthy range.
<br>Here’s what could help: Sunlight might not provide the amount of vitamin D you need, since the sun’s rays during the winter aren’t as strong.4 Ask your doctor about taking a supplement or adding vitamin D-rich foods to your meals, like salmon, eggs and mushrooms.5
You might feel moody.
Like its name suggests, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can make people feel lethargic, tired and gloomy and its effects usually correspond with the change in seasons. Overeating, weight gain and craving carbohydrates are also symptoms of the winter pattern of SAD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.6
SAD is a form of depression that often affects people before and after the winter solstice, from December through February.7 Normally, your circadian rhythm syncs with the day-to-night changes that occur throughout the seasons. But people with SAD experience the change in daylight hours differently, which makes it difficult for their bodies to adjust.7
Make sure to speak with your doctor if you experience any symptoms of SAD or notice anything out of the ordinary during the winter season.
<br>Here’s what could help: If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend medication, light therapy, and/or vitamin D supplements to help you feel better.6 If you’re craving carbohydrates, try swapping the refined variety for these healthier alternatives instead.
You might lose motivation.
Longer evenings and chilly nights make it much easier to think about snuggling up under a blanket than working out. In a 2013 survey of 502 adults in the U.S., nearly 44 percent of participants said they would put off exercising in the winter.8 And when the temperature dropped below 60 degrees, participants were also less likely to exercise.8
<br>Here’s what could help: Schedule a workout class or plan to meet a friend at the gym in advance, so you’ll be more likely to show up. Or, try different exercises indoors to heat things up when it’s too cold outside. If you’re starting to add new activities into your day, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Exercise for helpful tips!
You may be more productive.
The darker, colder days leading up to the winter solstice do have their benefits. A 2014 study showed that people, when assigned indoor work, were more likely to be distracted by thoughts of their favorite outdoor activities if the weather was fair. Less pleasant weather resulted in better performance.9
<br>Here’s what could help: Make the most of your productivity boost by doing the hardest work later in the morning, the time when researchers say your alertness and concentration are at their best.10 In the evenings, give your creative thoughts another shot. Open-ended problems may be easier to solve when you’re tired. Fatigue may allow your mind to wander and explore new possibilities, one study suggests.10 <br>
Although the cold weather and dark nights around winter solstice may make it feel challenging to focus on your health goals, (especially when the couch is calling your name), know that you can still stay on track by getting your daily dose of vitamin D, getting your activity in and eating healthy foods.
Need a little extra motivation to get back into a healthy routine? We’d love to help! With personalized, dedicated support and delicious chef-crafted meals, Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results is a science-based program designed to promote weight loss and work with your natural circadian rhythm. Contact a consultant to book your free appointment today. <br>
 https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html <br>
 https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx <br>
 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-too-much-vitamin-d-can-cloud-its-benefits-and-create-health-risks <br>
 http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/linuspaulinginstitute/2016/01/25/sunlight-vitamin-d-winter/ <br>
 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml <br>
 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254616300576 <br>
 https://www.fastcompany.com/3043171/good-news-this-endless-winter-is-making-you-more-productive <br>