It happens every year. The last two months of the year arrive jam packed with holidays. This time of year can stress out even the most calm among us. Besides adding a new layer of emotional stress, the holidays can also affect our general health. But there are ways that you can overcome this. Try these 7 holiday stress busters to enjoy a more peaceful season.
1. Stay within your financial means. If gift exchange is a built-in part of your family holiday traditions, ask your family and friends for their “wish list” of items within your price range. You will be able to give a gift from the heart but not go beyond your budget.
2. Don’t try to be everywhere. Ironically, holiday stress can intensify the more you try to enjoy the season. By over-committing to events and get-togethers – while enjoyable as they are – you may end up spreading yourself thin and feeling exhausted. Try to only say “yes” if it’s an absolute yes, and you feel it is an event that will bring you joy and not cause you stress.
3. Take deep breaths. Deep breathing, as simple as it may seem, is a simple technique you can do anytime to help keep you in the present, and prevent your mind from worrying too much about what’s going to happen in the future. By slowing your breathing, you can remain engaged with the present and signal your body to stop releasing a stream of stress hormones.
4. Go easy on yourself. Everything does not have to be “perfect.” Remain flexible throughout the season and allow yourself room to make “mistakes.” As you do with others, remember to approach yourself with love, acceptance and kindness.
5. Watch your budget. The holidays are a time when temptations abound at every turn. From doorbuster deals, Black Friday Promos all the way through to New Year’s clearance sales, you’ll be presented with spending opportunities constantly. One way to resist going overboard is to create your holiday budget and stay within your holiday shopping comfort zone. This might mean by-passing that lovely, but pricey, gift for a family member or opting to re-purpose your decorations from last year instead of decking your halls with all new items.
6. Walk. You might forget about physical activity during the holidays because you’re so wrapped up in the season. But don’t! The stress you’re experiencing can be easily reduced with a little movement, and this can still be fit into your busy holiday schedule. A quick walk can help relieve your holiday tension and relax muscles. Walking also helps your body produce endorphins which are your body’s feeling good chemicals.
7. Add in some vitamin C. New research shows that when women are stressed, their bodies metabolize at a slower rate. It’s tempting to indulge in high calorie “treats” when your holiday stress is at an all-time high. Vitamin C is a natural stress-reducer as this supplement helps to reduce the production of stress hormones. So instead of indulging in those high-calorie comfort foods, try foods packed with vitamin C, such as kiwi, grapefruit, blueberries and oranges.
By making a few simple changes, you can reduce your holiday stress and enjoy the best of the season.