This is the joyful season, that time of year when we’re supposed to be happy, giving, and thankful. But hosting guests or traveling and being a guest in someone’s home for any length of time can cause the opposite reaction. If you’re hosting, getting the house ready, maintaining it in guest-ready condition for the duration of the visit, preparing holiday (and other) meals, and keeping the guests entertained can all be stress and anxiety inducing. If you’re traveling, you may be eating unfamiliar foods, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, and keeping irregular hours. Before your eye starts twitching uncontrollably, take a look at these tips for surviving your role as either a host or guest.
Don’t feel like you have to be Martha Stewart. People get very locked into the idea that everything needs to be perfect. In reality, it doesn’t. Simply spending time with the people you love and who love you is more important than creating wreaths out of pomegranate seeds.
Plan dining out ahead and choose wisely. When going out, you choose the restaurant. This is your home, so your guests will look to you for dining out suggestions. Suggest places you know serve healthy choices. If going for heavier fare, eat lighter on those days.
Alternatively, cook for your guests. You don’t have to make a gourmet meal, and cooking in the home allows everyone to pitch in and spend quality time cooking together while you get to control the type of food you make.
Offer healthy activities for your guests to do. Vacation doesn’t mean being stagnant. Take your guests for a walk around your city, visit museums and places of interest, or arrange for your guests to join your favorite group fitness class at Merritt Clubs.
Limit the amount of days your guests stay with you. Having people stay in your home is lovely, but also can throw everything off balance. No matter how much you love a family member, in some cases, their constant presence can cause stress. Consider a shorter stay so the time spent together is quality time.
Stay active but get good rest. Exercise can help rid your body of stress as well as increase endorphins and burn any extra calories you may consume. Most importantly, listen to your body. Traveling can be harsh on the body, so give yourself time to rest.
Avoid overeating. Although food seems to be the central focus of the holidays, it’s best to moderate your intake. Eat slowly, drink plenty of water, eat your veggies, and choose to eat the foods you really enjoy so you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. And if you do overeat, don’t beat yourself up.
Prevent infections. Close quarters like trains, planes, and automobiles, along with handshakes, kisses, and hugs are great ways to spread colds, flus, and gastroenteritis. Wash your hands often and keep your hands away from your face. Use antibacterial hand sanitizer liberally. And, if you’re sick, miss the party. It’s better to stay away than infect everyone else.
Regardless of whether you are hosting or a guest in someone’s home, remember to take time for self-care. If you’re hosting, take time after everyone is settled in for the evening to meditate, journal, or take a bath. If going to the gym and taking a particular class is what helps get you through the day, let your guests know in advance that you’ll be attending that class. When traveling, try taking an evening walk, listening to your favorite music, reading a good book, or treating yourself to a massage.
Finally, enjoy the holidays. Remember, this is only a fraction of your year. Eat in moderation, exercise when you can, and enjoy spending time with those you love and who love you.