Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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Returning to Your Routine After the Holidays

k-s13-teddy-2312The holiday season is now upon us, and while this time of year is meant for us to enjoy, many Canadians struggle with the transition after the holidays. It’s no surprise why; with time off from work and school and changes to our daily routines and sleep patterns, getting back into your normal routine can be challenging.

For this reason, I’d like to share some tips to help you ease back into your normal habits, and start the New Year off stress-free.

Try A New Activity to Change Up Your Schedule

After a few days or a week off from your daily routine, many of us might dread the idea of going back to it, so now is the perfect time to add something new to our schedule to change it up! More and more evidence shows that exercise will help improve one’s mental health. In the New Year, I recommend signing up for a class at the gym that piques your interest or joining a recreational sports league. There are often deals or incentives to sign up during this time of year, and it’ll also accomplish many people’s resolution to add an active element to their schedule. 

Plan Something Exciting for the Future

Whether it’s a weeklong vacation, a weekend getaway, or even a night out with friends you haven’t seen in a while, planning a future event will bring you excitement and give you something to look forward to. At a time when your normal routine might seem a little bit gloomy, an event on the horizon is a great way to inject some positivity into your future. In fact, the process of planning a vacation actually increases your happiness!

Remember that Some Stress Isn’t Always Bad

Although your return to work or school can sometimes provoke stress, it’s important to remember that a little bit of stress can be good for you. The stress you feel now can serve as the drive you need to start a new project, or the motivation you need to adopt a positive new habit. Talk about how you’re feeling with your friends and family, because chances are that you have more in common than you realize. Knowing that others are feeling similar to you can offer relief and reassurance, and sometimes just one conversation is all it takes.

After the celebrations and festivities come to an end, the New Year offers you the chance to add some fun and revitalizing excitement to your routine. Remember that with just a few proactive steps, you’ll be excited and ready to get back into the swing of things come January. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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Maintaining Strong Mental Health During the Holidays

gift-2870161_1920As 2017 comes to an end, we begin to reflect on our year and prepare for the holidays. No doubt you’ve heard the festive music and seen the bright decorations by now. And if you’ve seen any advertisements, they probably feature smiling faces and holiday joy. But with so much cheer all around, this time of year can be a serious strain on one’s mental health. With personal and professional social events to plan and attend, the holidays can intensify feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. That’s why I want to discuss some common causes of stress and anxiety this holiday season, and share tips on how to minimize the negative effects that may result.

Be Careful Not To Take On Too Much

One of the most challenging aspects of the holidays is the pressure to commit significant amounts of money and time. Between gift giving and spending time with family and friends, sometimes it can feel like you’ve bit off more than you can chew. As such, it’s important to commit to both a budget and a schedule this holiday season. By planning a budget in advance and sticking to it, you can avoid unnecessary expenses that will get you into financial trouble.

Furthermore, creating a schedule will ensure that you find the perfect balance between attending holiday events and having personal time for rest and relaxation. Also, don’t feel bad if you can’t attend every party or event you’ve been invited to! People are generally understanding, and they’re likely in the exact same boat as you.

Enjoy the Time You Spend With Family

The holidays offer quality time to spend with family while many have time off from work or school. In certain cases, spending the holidays with family can bring feelings of tension, stress, and sadness. For some families, there may be specific personalities or past differences that could lead to conflict between family members. If this rings true for you, it can be helpful to set boundaries. Try to stay away from certain topics or situations that could become heated, and don’t be afraid to speak up or excuse yourself from a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable.

For other families, the holidays can act as an unfortunate reminder of the loss of a loved one. While the holiday season may be a difficult time, it also offers the opportunity to create new traditions, especially those that honour a loved one and incorporate their interests.

Don’t Forget Your Healthy Habits

Everyone has their own traditions of how they spend the holidays, but there’s usually a couple of activities we indulge in more than at any other time of the year: food and drink, and sometimes, lots of both. While I’m hardly one to take issue with some of the tasty holiday dishes or festive beverages at this time of year, the indulgence can create feelings of guilt and stress.

Try to remember a few healthy habits. For one, eat a healthy snack right before you go to a holiday event. This trick will ensure that you fit in a healthy option, but will also lessen your hunger and thus your urge to indulge in sweets! Pace yourself when it comes to participating in alcohol consumption. Remember that alcohol numbs the senses, as it is a depressant. And of course, I would be remiss not to remind you to always have a designated driver when you’ve been drinking alcohol. Additionally, incorporate some physical activity on your days off. Winter sports or even a walk outside are great forms of exercise to balance out some of the hearty meals you’ll be eating.

While stress and anxiety may feel inevitable during this time of year, it’s important to remember the happiness that comes with it as well. There’s bound to be positive moments in exchanging gifts, enjoying a delicious meal, and spending time with family and friends that you haven’t seen in a while. So if you keep these positives in mind, and follow the aforementioned tips to stay healthy this season, you’ll be sure to enjoy the holiday cheer this December. Happy Holidays!