5 Tips For Staying (Almost) Stress Free During The Holidays
The calendar doesn’t lie and already you may feel the stress starting to build. The holidays are approaching, bringing with them a flurry of must-accomplish tasks such as helping your mom with the baking, shopping and wrapping. Plus, you probably have parties to attend, grandma’s house to visit and you may have to deal with family members with whom you just don’t ever seem to connect. Then, on top of all that, you have finals to study for, end of semester group projects to prepare, presentations to practice and that book report to write. It seems impossible to accomplish it all by New Years Eve.
So, how can you endure without all those stress-inducing moments ruining your health and sapping your Christmas spirit?
First off, don’t stress about the fact you feel stressed. Stress is pervasive. It’s a fact of life. And stress isn’t even always bad. Some people need a certain amount of pressure to function optimally. At its core, holiday stress is just like any stress, only with burnt sugar cookies and interminable waits at the retail-checkout line involved. Here are five tips to help you feel less stressed as you navigate your way through holiday hassles and the daunting end-of-year expectations.
Connect with the Spirit that marks the season.
In the midst of all the chaos, bring yourself back to Jesus. Let the traditions and hoopla of Christmas remind you of what it’s all about. You don’t have to linger on Jesus Christ, or set aside a massive chunk of time for Him, but do allow your thoughts to drift toward him. Keeping your mind focused on Christ will always center you and bring you peace.
Have an attitude of gratitude.
Research shows that expressing gratitude can help improve mood, increase energy levels, relieve stress and increase motivation. Look for reasons to be grateful during the holidays, whether it’s being thankful for good health, a good grades, a loving family or some other positive in your life.
Pause for a moment.
Remember to take a few deep, relaxing breaths throughout the day no matter how you are feeling. Even positive emotions like excitement and enthusiasm can create stress in the body, just like typical stress emotions such as anger and frustration do. That’s why it’s important to periodically do something that promotes relaxation during active times.
Make sure you get enough sleep.
Your body needs its rest and a lack of sleep makes it more difficult to deal with the stressful situations you might face through the holidays. With an exceedingly long “to-do” list, it’s easy to trim back the amount of time you normally spend sleeping. Be careful not to let that happen.
Take a walk after you eat.
This works two ways for you. It helps relax you and it’s good exercise. A walk can provide an opportunity for you to separate yourself from the pressures you might be feeling. Fresh air, even if it’s cold, cleanses the system. Plus, a walk after you eat can assist your digestive system – which is a great benefit this time of year when you’re eating a bunch of extra, unhealthy food.
Dance and laugh often.
They both burn calories and help lift your mood. Really, you probably can’t do enough of either of these, so let the joy of the season bubble up inside you and encourage a loud giggle and a healthy dance. For some of you, dancing will cause you to laugh, so give it a whirl because both are important!
Naturally, we do a ton for others during the holiday season, but it’s important to remember to pay attention to your own physical, spiritual, emotional and mental needs as well. You can’t give from an empty cup. Taking care of you is a necessity, not a luxury.