Another year has quickly flown by and the official start of the holiday season is quickly approaching. And although the season brings parties, presents, shopping, food and family gatherings, for many it also means an increase in stress. During the holiday season, everyone should take time for managing holiday stress. Stress compromises the immune system and can leave you more vulnerable to colds, flu, bronchitis and pneumonia. Excess stress can also exacerbate pre-existing health conditions.
Ways you can manage stress during the holiday season.
Make sure that you get enough sleep!
Many people feel as if they have to sacrifice sleep in order to accomplish their long holiday “to do” lists. But you actually become far less productive when you are sleep deprived. As a result, you get less done, tend to be more irritable and less patient as well. So catch plenty of zzz’s each night to function normally. To make it even worse, when sleep deprived, most people tend to consume more sugar and highly processed junk food goodies than they do when they get plenty of sleep.
Organize your time
One thing that can help reduce stress is to rite down a list of the things that you need to accomplish each day and prioritize. You are human after all. Writing a list of tasks also allows you to keep track of what has been done, and what needs to be finished and eliminates the panic that accompanies those tasks that you have forgotten and suddenly realize that you need to do.
You certainly don’t have to do everything yourself, and it’s okay to ask for help! If you are having a holiday party or family dinner, ask your spouse, kids, family members or friends to help out. But don’t be afraid to ask. More than likely, if asked, they will be more than willing to help out and lighten your load a bit.
Make time for some fun!
What are the holidays if there is no fun? Spend some time playing with your kids. Drive around your neighborhood to see all of the lights at night. Make yourself some hot cocoa or spiced cider and sit and enjoy some quiet Christmas music by the light of your tree. Have a wrapping paper fight with your kids or family members. Watch a funny holiday movie, and laugh! Laughter and having fun is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to reduce stress.
Take a break
If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break!! Stop and soak in a hot tub, do some breathing exercises, meditate, go out into nature, yoga or meditate. You will not be able to function well if you get too overloaded. So stop and take care of yourself. When your batteries have been recharges, then you can get back to work on the things that need to be done.
Make time for some exercise daily. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress! It reduces stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol, and produces endorphins, the feel good chemicals of the brain. So while you are out shopping, park farther out and walk the perimeter of the mall a few times in between shopping.
It is important to remember to make self care and regular stress management a part of your daily holiday routine! This will help you to stay healthier and happier throughout the holiday season.