6 Simple Ways to Keep Holiday Stress at Bay

santa stressThe holidays can be a ridiculously stressful time: managing family, party-going, party-hosting, shopping, gift-giving, tipping, cleaning, cooking, decorating, baking … the list of to-dos, to-deal-withs and to decide-abouts goes on and on. Plus, you've got to keep your family's regular day-to-day life on track as well. It's not like the whole world just stops to give you time to prepare!

Relax. Take a deep breath. Here are a few easy ways to de-stress your life this holiday season:


1. Take a time out to chill out: Take time away from the holiday hubbub. Release muscle tension with a few stretches, or try that relaxation technique where you tense a muscle (for about five seconds) and then release it, working through your body parts one by one, starting with your feet and methodically progressing up to the top of your head. It works wonders – slowing your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure and breathing rate, and increasing blood flow to your muscles, which releases tension. Deep breathing exercises (breath, hold, release) can increase blood flow and help you stay calm as well.

2. Get some exercise:
Physical activity is a great stress-buster – helping you relax your muscles, clear your head and boost your mood. Go for a brisk walk, a quick run, or (if weather permits) hop on your bike for a quick spin around the neighborhood. Plus, you can check out your neighbors' holiday decorations at the same time!

3. Write things down: Keeping a list of what you want to get done can help you focus and prioritize. It can also help you relax. (You can stop worrying that you'll forget to tip the mailman!) Make sure your expectations are realistic: If "redecorate the house" is on the list, now may not be the right time …

4. Eat well: Make sure you don't forget to eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and protein. A healthy diet can boost your energy – and your mood.

5. Get some sleep: Things seem a lot more overwhelming when you're exhausted and sleep-deprived. Shoot for 6.5 to 7.5 hours of shuteye a night, which some experts say is ideal.

6. Keep things in perspective: If things start to feel like they're spinning out of control, remind yourself of what's important: health, time with family and friends, love and support. It's not about who buys the biggest gift, bakes the best holiday cookies, or keeps their bathroom most spotless.  (Honest!)

Do you find yourself getting stressed out over the holidays?


Image via tillwe/Flickr

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