Eight Tips for Beating Stress This Holiday Season
You would think that with the beauty of the holiday season, it would be a time of reflection; a time to sit in front of a crackling fire, drink hot chocolate and snuggle beneath a nice soft fluffy blanket, watching the snow gently fall outside. Sounds more like the scene from a Hallmark card than the reality that most of us experience throughout the season. But it doesn’t have to be.
If your holiday season is anything like mine used to be, you’re the one hauling in the firewood, lighting the fire, shopping for the hot chocolate ingredients, unpacking the fluffy blankets, washing them, making the hot chocolate…well you get the picture.
As a society, most of us are busy and stressed out, but when the holidays roll around, we add even more stress to our plates. Most of us are dealing with working all day, getting childcare figured out, since the kids are on their holiday break, wondering when you’re going to get the time to clean the house for the in-laws arrival, plus providing meals while they’re there. Quickly turning “Ho, Ho, Ho,” into “Bah Humbug”! Sound familiar?
The Effects of Stress on the Body
Stress raises your cortisol levels and weakens your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to colds and the flu, not to mention heart disease and diabetes. It also affects our ability to get a good night’s sleep, which is necessary for our bodies cells to regenerate.
How to Kick Stress to the Curb this Season (and every day)
Some of the best tools to help manage stress all year around are: yoga, meditation and journaling. I know, you’re saying “That’s not my bag”. And that’s okay! There is something for everyone so the key is finding what will work best for you.
Get outside, take a walk and breathe in the fresh crisp air. Nature is a great way to get centered and de-stress. If that’s not possible, then go to the gym, walk on the treadmill or walk around the track. Exercise is an important element to keeping your immune system strong and it’s been proven over and over again to reduce stress and increase the feelings of happiness and overall well-being.
Get Your Sleep
Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. I realize this may seem like a challenge at first, let alone during the holidays, but this little nugget is really important. When we don’t have to answer to the alarm clock, we tend to stay up later and wake up later. I know I’m guilty of that as well, but by implementing a sleep schedule – getting to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time – you will improve your body’s ability to handle stress, not to mention your mood because you’re well rested.
Don’t Be Afraid To Delegate or Ask For Help
Put your Wonder Woman lasso away, friends. You don’t have to do everything yourself! Delegate is the name of the game, if you want to stay sane! Get your family involved with everything, from household chores to meal prep. If the party is at your house, make it a potluck. Have everybody bring something to take some of the pressure off of yourself.
Grab a calendar and write down everything you simply have to do, the Christmas Preschool party, church on Christmas Eve, time with the in-laws. Then fill in everything you want to do, like decorating your tree and your house, Then fill in the fun things you would like to do, like host a party, watch Christmas movies, see the Nutcracker.
If you’re more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” type and this truly works for you, keep some openings for things that may come up, but try to at least schedule in the “have to’s” to eliminate unnecessary stress there.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
One of the hardest things to do is say no. But when we say no to things, it’s also a way of saying yes to ourselves, which is extra important in order for us to be our best for others.
Plan Some “ME” Time, Totally Guilt Free
It’s important to make time for ourselves, but especially so during the holidays. Planning time for yourself doesn’t have to mean a weekend away. “ME” time can be as simple as a long hot bubble bath and your favorite music playing softly in the background. No need to over-complicate it.
Buy Instead of Bake
My mom was a stay at home mom all during my childhood, so every year for the holidays she and my grandmother would bake what seemed like a million cookies. As a working woman, I don’t have the time to bake like that, nor do I want that much sugar in my house, but I still want to have something to offer my guests. So I buy just a few holiday treats to have on hand, which alleviates the stress of baking and allows me to enjoy my guests in the process.
Grandma was right when she said laughter is the best medicine! It helps reduce stress and makes you feel good too. Remember, life is short don’t let holiday stress ruin your holidays.
Mary Blackburn is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and owner of Naturally Simple Health. She has been gluten-free since 1986 when she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She loves writing, reading, learning, gardening, cooking and baking, especially with her grandchildren. And enjoys spending time with animals, especially her Black Labrador Retriever, Charlie.
As a health coach, she believes that no one way of eating is suitable for everyone, so she helps her clients find the right balance of choices, through a collaborative effort, to implement individualized diet and lifestyle changes, because she believes that Food truly is Medicine!
She loves sharing healthy, gluten-free recipes and writing about healthy, natural, living.
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