It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays are also one of the most stressful times of the year for many people. If not managed effectively, all this excess stress can result in not only ruining your holiday, but weakening the immune system which leaves you vulnerable to viruses and colds etc., increasing blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, depression, cravings for carbs and sweets, weakening the adrenal glands, fueling sympathetic dominance, and many more negative health effects.
Use these holiday stress relief tips to bring more relaxation, joy, and inner peace into your celebration:
- Slow down. When you rush, it triggers your stress response system.
- Acknowledge your feelings, don’t stuff them. Talk about them with your friends, family, or even a professional.
- Don’t over commit. You don’t have to attend every event you’re invited to. You don’t have to attend any of them if you don’t feel like it.
- Do what’s enjoyable for you, not what others expect of you.
- Make time for yourself. Take a break and do something relaxing, like a long hot bath, reading a book, lounging in the yard, listening to soothing music.
- Engage in deep breathing exercises. Deep breaths in through the nose and out through the nose; from the abdomen, not the chest.
- Exercise. It’s one of the most effective methods to beat holiday stress. But don’t overdo it. Mild and gentle.
- Get outside and spend time with nature. Take a walk or simply sit on the porch or in the park.
- Plan ahead. Don’t get caught off guard and try not to do too much at one time.
- Smile often. Smiling, even a fake one, stimulates calming neurotransmitters that reduce stress.
- Be realistic. The media presents us with an image of the holiday season that is unrealistic and results in depression and disappointment when it can’t be achieved. Your holiday does not have to be perfect or fit any particular mold.
- Keep it simple. The holiday does not have to be extravagant to be joyful.
- Skip the sugar and caffeine. Sugar and caffeine alter neurotransmitters in the brain that results in anxiety, hyperactivity, depression, food cravings, and mood swings. Sugar also inhibits your immune system.
- Get a massage.
- Make love. Sex is another very effective method for relieving holiday stress. If you’re without a partner, indulge in a little self-pleasure.
- Get adequate sleep. Take naps if needed.
- Spend quality time with your loved ones just enjoying one another.
- Hands down, the most effective method for how to deal with holiday stress is the use of mindfulness-based meditation. Take some time out to meditate. You can find 15 easy techniques you can put to practice immediately in my Meditating for Health ebook. In just a few minutes, you’ll have more inner peace and relaxation.
- Play a board game or cards with your loved ones.
- Watch a good movie or two. Allow yourself to be completely absorbed and swept away.
- Make a list of the things you have to be grateful for.
- Spend some time alone in complete silence.
- Dance. This doesn’t have to be at a dance club. Turn on your radio or favorite CD and dance in your living room.
- Take a country ride.
- Stay home this year instead of traveling.
- Do your shopping online instead of at the mall or give gift certificates for online stores.
- Delegate responsibilities. You don’t have to do it all. Ask friends, children, a spouse, parents etc. to give you a helping a hand.
- Keep hydrated and eat well-balanced meals. Stay committed to your Paleo plan.
- Sprint. A brief sprint across the yard or whatever area you have available to you will instantly reduce stress.
- Be more mindful during your holiday activities. Enjoy the journey and don’t worry about the outcome.
Don’t lose sight of the true meaning of the holiday — loving, giving, and being grateful. Slow things down a little, take time for yourself, and cherish the moments you spend with those who are important to you.
There’s no way to avoid it completely, but if you put some of these suggestions into practice, you’ll find that holiday stress relief is just around the corner and you’ll be sure to have a happier and healthier holiday and more inner peace.