As the holiday season is rapidly approaching, levels of anxiety tend to go up. Here are some practical tips to curb our Tishrei Tension:
- Get enough sleep – often sleep is the first thing to go when we have lots to do and lots to cook. We stay up late into the night, making sure all our best dishes are prepared and ready. While a night or two of missed sleep may not seem like a big deal, getting less than the recommended amount does have real, measurable consequences. Studies have shown that lack of sleep leads to a drain on your mental abilities, is linked to a number of health problems, including weakened immunity, mood changes, memory issues, high blood pressure, as well as an increased risk for heart disease. When our sleep is lacking, we tend to become more impatient and our decision-making processes as well as our creativity can be compromised. Lack of sleep has also been known to change hormones that are directly linked to our feelings of hunger and fullness.
- Try to eat in a healthful and mindful way – when we are stressed or busy, our meals may be eaten on the run without attention paid to exactly what it is we are eating. If we want our bodies to function at maximum capacity, we need to fuel them properly. This will also help with mood swings and hormonal changes, too. Sometimes we need to step back and see what our body is asking for so that we can support it supporting us.
- Take the time you need – we all need alone time sometimes. If you need some time to regroup and refresh, go to your room to read or rest for a bit, take a walk, or arrange times with your friends so that you can watch each other’s kids for even 30 minutes, giving each of you a well-deserved break. Maybe you need more socialization with friends and family, so make a schedule for a coffee date. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed. Yes, Yom Tov can be expensive, but getting a little extra household help can go a long way to ensure your sanity and everyone’s happiness.
- Keep stress levels under control – we all know how damaging, both mentally and physically stress can be. According to webmd.com, mayoclinic.com, and the National Institute of Mental Health, stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Stress effects all of us and while not all stress is necessarily bad, especially when it helps to raise our fight or flight ability, nevertheless, stress that lasts for days or weeks, can disturb our immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. Easier said than done, right? For sure, but we can manage stress through regular exercise, being organized and planning ahead, and making sure we stay connected with family and friends. We should also be vigilant in noticing those things that make us feel more stressed, so that we can try to do them less.
- And finally – try not to lose sight of what really counts. Yomim Tovim are full of family and friends, a time to connect with Hashem. If everything is not perfect on the outside, but we feel spiritually, emotionally, and physically connected and fulfilled, our homes will be happier places, that are more contented and full of simcha!
If we can take the time to internalize these messages and put a plan in place for when we falter, as we all do from time to time, our Tishrei season will be more fulfilling, accomplished, and much more relaxed! Kesiva V’chasima tova!!