When you ask others about what they like best about the holidays, you will find that a majority will respond that they look forward to spending time with family and friends. So why is one of the most joyous times of the year bring so much stress to many of us?
If you are one of those with an already busy schedule, trying to cram in all of the responsibilities of the holiday season can make you feel over-burdened and result in taking less care of yourself by falling into bad habits like comfort eating and neglecting your usual workout routine. Along with a busy schedule, you may feel some of the financial pressure that peaks this time of year, or have end-of-year deadlines to meet at work.
What if you just had a few easy things you could do to relieve holiday stress? We have come up with 8 quick holiday de-stressing tips below. If you can pick just 3 to practice when you can, we feel it would be a great start to managing that stress.
- Stick to your routine. Don’t neglect yourself by putting off your regular workout or cancelling on your regular Wednesday night dinner with friends. Avoid squeezing in more holiday tasks than you can handle.
- Nurture Yourself. Practice meditation on a 10 minute break, try a massage, hot bath or yoga. These can all be simple ways to shut out the chaos around you.
- ‘No’ can be a complete sentence. The holiday season is a time of giving, you want volunteer, make cookies for the office, help with holiday projects, wrap the perfect gifts, make the perfect meal, go to all the events….It’s exhausting just thinking about it! Acknowledge your time limitations and say ‘no’ to at least a few things this season.
- Say ‘Hello’ to Mr. Sunshine. If it’s sunny out, spend some time in it – or even by a window. This can especially help those affected with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Don’t forget to exercise. Whether it’s going to the gym or a hike in nature, exercise affects our brain positively. When you notice particular moments of stress, just get up and take a walk. You will notice a difference in how you feel when you return.
- Citrus boosts your mood. Citrus has been found to alleviate stress. Save those orange peels to put on the stove with a little cinnamon for a warm holiday smell that serves a dual purpose of de-stressing. You can even wear jewelry that holds essential oils for a citrus smell that stays with you throughout your day.
- Be grateful. Focus on what you are grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal to make a note of what you are grateful for each day. This will help you focus on all you do have this holiday season instead of what you may feel like you are missing out on.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Find those things that make you giggle!
Practicing some of these tips can help you overcome the stress of the holidays. Remember that these times are about joy, love and family. Don’t allow unrealistic schedules and self-neglect to make this season one you just wish was over. Your family and friends will be happy to see you stress-free and living in the moment. They will probably even ask you how you are accomplishing it!