We know the holidays can be frenetic and a tad crazy making. They can also be really fun and invigorating. As we dive into the month of December with all those holiday parties and gatherings, we thought a stress management blog post may be helpful to you. I will be putting this list above my desk and on my refrigerator to remind me how to stay centered. We hope these five points help you as well!
- Know your stress triggers. Do certain family members decenter you? Do you take on too much and then find you don’t have time for it all? Do crowds make you uneasy? Ask yourself what makes you uncomfortable or overwhelmed and then structure your schedule to ease those moments? When seeing said family member, can you also invite your most accommodating family member, someone who diffuses the difficult one? If you tend to take on too much, can you say no to certain engagements? Do you really have to go to every holiday party? Do you really need to bake all those cookies? Can this be the year you send a Christmas email or a link to your Facebook page instead of all those cards? Are there non-holiday events or tasks you could postpone for a week or two? If crowds make you uneasy, can you avoid them by shopping at small local boutiques during less common hours? Perhaps on your lunch break?
- Connect with the people who may need you the most this holiday season, or those you most want to see. Schedule ahead and plan with intention. Our bodies and brains respond positively to time spent connecting with loved ones.
- Keep moving. Physical activity is the clearest step you can take to benefit your health during the holidays or any time of year. The endorphins released as a result of exercise help with mood and clarity of thought.
- Practice positive nutrition. Know what foods help you feel and do your best, then focus more on giving your body what it needs (such as fruits and vegetables) and less on trying to avoid certain foods. Eat sweets in moderation and make sure you also get protein, fiber and healthy fats. Eat wholesome food before going to a party so it is easier to indulge in moderation.
- Relax your body and mind. Take five minutes at the beginning of each day to breathe deeply and scan your body from head to toe. Do a mental check of your forehead, jaw and tongue for tightness, relax; then check your neck and shoulders, stretch and move them to find a comfortable position, then continue with your arms, chest, abdomen and legs and toes.