Holiday survival guide

Healthy Carolina's tips for enjoying the holidays, while taking care yourself

Wellness during the holiday season is not just about eating treats in moderation or dragging yourself away from your current Netflix binge. We've compiled a few tips, tricks and resources for enjoying the holidays to the fullest while taking care of your whole self.

Take care

While full of fun and excitement, the holidays can still be very stressful. For some, it means spending time with people you don’t always enjoy or hiding parts of yourself from family members for fear of being judged or shunned.

  • One of the best ways to address challenging situations like this is to have a game plan and exit strategy.
  • Try to schedule your time wisely over the break.
  • Consider volunteering at a shelter or nonprofit that could use extra help during a busy season.
  • Plan outings with family members and friends that affirm you.
  • Visit the local attractions in your hometown.
  • Spend time at the library or coffee house to catch up on those books you’ve neglected because of school.

Celebrating intuitively

Give yourself permission to enjoy time with family and friends and to enjoy the foods on the table this holiday season — even if they are not foods you typically eat.

  • Work on giving up the ideas that there are “good” and “bad” foods or that you have to overeat as this is the only time you will be able to enjoy a delicious meal — if you really think about it there is always an occasion to celebrate over a good meal.
  • Listen to your body and trust that you will eat when you’re hungry and that you can stop eating when you’re full.
    Try to reject the idea that you will have to go on a diet later to make up for enjoying special foods during the holidays breaking the cycle of yo-yo dieting will make you happier and healthier in the long run.
  • If you find that you are out of touch with your body’s cues for hunger and fullness or would like to learn more about ditching diets for good, visit one of our registered dietitians on campus to learn more about intuitive eating and being healthy at every size.

Get moving

Avoid spending all of your time in your room or binging movies on Netflix. Stay active. Take walks, walk around the local mall, whatever you do keep moving. Not only does physical activity help with improving your mood, but it also makes it that much easier to transition back into student-mode come January.

If you are a regular exerciser, it is okay to take a break from your normal routine when your holiday schedule gets hectic.

Try to find ways to incorporate physical activity into the way you spend time with your friends and family, like going on a walk together or running a holiday-themed race.

Sleep well

When you get a long break from school or work, it can be tempting to sleep your days away. Holiday travel, social anxiety, grief and loss can all affect your quantity and quality of sleep.

Use these sleep hygiene tips to help you stay rested and ready to take on the season.

  • Try to stick to your normal sleep routine or keep some of your small daily rituals to remind your body of its natural rhythm. Think morning coffee; evening bath; bedtime book.
  • Fit a short nap (20-30 minutes) into your day if your bedtime gets interrupted by family and celebrations.
  • Make sure to get some natural light and physical activity. Both increase feelings of alertness during the day and make it easier to fall asleep at night.

Reduce stress

Healthy Carolina offers several stress management resources like therapy dog Indy, Free Yoga and Midday Meditation. For information about dates and times, visit the Healthy Carolina website.

If you are interested in learning more about stress management and building your resilience skills, free wellness coaching is available for all students, faculty and staff. Get ahead of your end-of-the-semester stress and sign up for an appointment today on My Health Space or call the Healthy Campus Initiatives office at 803-777-6518.

Student Health Services offers online resources for students to get help for common concerns 24/7, take a free, anonymous mental health screening and learn how to recognize signs of psychological distress to help a friend in need.

Visit Student Health Services website to learn more about:

  • TAO: Therapist-Assisted Option
  • TAO: Self-Enroll Self-Help
  • TAO: Self-Screening Tool
  • Interactive Screening Program
  • Kognito Online Training

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