There are so many different types of stresses that people endure each holiday season. Over the next few weeks we will discuss how to conquer “holiday stress”. I have discovered some great tips to reducing stresses of all kinds, such as grief, depression, shopping, worrying, anxiety, “Tech”, and negative thinking. Have any of these areas crept up in your mind and began to lower your spirits? If you are happy and excited without any issues of holiday stress, that is simply awesome. According to Health.com (2013), below are ways that can be helpful to lower your stress level during this holiday season:
1. Walk away from worries
“The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep,” says nutrition-and-wellness expert Ann Kulze, MD. Aim for a brisk, half-hour walk every day.
2. Forget perfection
Stop obsessing over doing it all. The world is not going to end if the house is a little cluttered or dinner is on the table a few minutes late. “Focus your energy on enjoying the people in your life,” says Donna Schempp, the program director for the Family Caregiver Alliance. Don’t sweat the small stuff and your holiday will be much more enjoyable!
3. Do less, enjoy more
“We go overboard to please others during the holidays: shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every event,” says George Pratt, PhD, a psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California. “Instead, take care of yourself by saying no at least once—and maybe more.
4. Don’t neglect whatever cracks you up
Laughing like crazy reduces stress hormones. That, in turn, helps immune cells function better, says psychologist Steve Wilson, founder of the World Laughter Tour, an organization that offers therapeutic-laughter training.
5. Take a whiff of citrus
Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket.
6. Go tech-free
Constant cell phone buzzes and email alerts keep us in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode due to bursts of adrenaline. Not only is this exhausting, but it contributes to mounting stress levels, especially in women. What better time to turn your gadgets off than during a holiday get-together? Enjoy spending time with your family and friends without worry.
7. Turn up the tunes
Anxious? Listen to your favorite music, whether it’s Jingle Bell Rock or the latest from Jay-Z. Research from the University of Maryland shows that hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. That not only calms you down but is good for your heart, too.
8. Don’t over schedule
If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed by your holiday agenda, don’t over schedule your time and take on more than you can manage. Remember: It’s OK to slow down a bit.
9. Think positive
The holidays may drive you to your breaking point, but don’t focus on the bad. Negative thinking can trigger the your body’s stress response, just as a real threat does. Remember, it’s time to celebrate with your family and friends (even if they do stress you out!). An optimistic outlook will help you cope with challenges that come your way.
Don’t let anyone persuade you to carry the weight of stress that exceeds your limits; knowing when to say “No” is wisdom (Roebuck, 2013).
Have a super week!
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