It’s that time of year again! With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good time to address the fact that most people experience some kind of stress during this time. Our diets, sleeping patterns, and even basic daily activities like brushing our teeth (hello sharing a bathroom with a 4-year-old!) change during these times so we must change with it! Because if you can’t be flexible, you’ll be miserable!
Here are a 5 tips to help manage stress during the holiday season.
1) Water, Water, Everywhere
One of the worst things you can do to your mind and body is dehydrate them. During the holidays, you’re most likely eating more salty and sugary foods as well as having a higher alcohol intake. That, in addition to traveling, will make your body dehydrate quickly. Prepare yourself however works best for you, whether that means traveling with your own bottle to fill up while you’re away or setting reminders on your phone so that you don’t fall behind on your water intake!
2) Like to Move it, Move it
It’s easy to find yourself in a seated position during the holidays, usually with a belly full of food and sweatpants on. Who doesn’t love that, right? But with most things in life, moderation plays an important role here. While everyone needs to relax, moving your body is one of the best ways to release stress. Take a family walk, try family yoga, have a dance contest, or just take a few minutes to yourself and hold a plank or knock out some push-ups and sit ups. Anything you can do – just move it, move it!
Laughing really can be the best medicine sometimes. According to the Mayo Clinic laughter can stimulate many of your organs, activate and relieve your stress response, and soothe tension. Now that’s no laughing matter! Family games like charades or Pictionary are fun and simple enough for most ages to be able to participate. There are also holiday films such as Elf, A Muppet’s Christmas Carole, the Grinch, Home Alone 1 and 2 just to name a few that are enjoyable for everyone. Or you can check out your local theater to see if there are any live holiday productions that the family would like! Now, this doesn’t mean just laughing but also asking yourself to try and see the funny side of a stressful moment.
4) Coffee Talk
There is something about the smell of fresh coffee during the holidays that just ticks all the cozy boxes. Even seeing someone else with a coffee this time of year triggers that inner caffeine beast. As delicious as it is, caffeine can also elevate your cortisol levels like stress so it isn’t the best for someone who may be experiencing higher than normal stress. This is in no way suggesting you stop drinking caffeine, we aren’t monsters! The point is to pay attention to how much you’re having and if need be, have a decaf or herbal tea to help keep those stress levels down.
5) All I Need is the Air That I Breathe…
Getting fresh air is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress! Taking several deep breaths outdoors can help you re-center yourself and increase your serotonin levels. Your skin also gets vitamin D from the sun which helps with your immune system and healthier means happier! Get the whole family involved by suggesting an outdoor activity like tag, holiday decorating, or arts and crafts. If you’re feeling up to it, scavenger hunts are fantastic way to get everyone out and moving. If you’re in a city and don’t access to a lot of nature, still step outside, and feel the sun. Most importantly, always be sure to wear sunscreen!
During the holidays, we tend to overindulge in a lot of things. And that’s totally okay! Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
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