Say No to Holiday Stress
Each year most of us begin the holiday season with a high level of stress based on what we anticipate will happen in the coming weeks. Instead of projecting stress into the holidays, what would happen if we all just said “No!” to holiday stress? Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
More Ways to Merry
#1. Stretch! Begin each day by physically stretching your muscles and focusing your mind. Whether it is a bedside routine or a class at the club, warming your mind and body up for the extra demands of the holidays can help offset the stress felt during the day. Something as simple as a deep stretch and a 5-minute meditation before plugging in to our digitally chaotic culture can help keep you feeling more centered throughout the holiday season. Take this practice up a notch by adding a yoga or Pilates class to your normal workout routine and get the added bonus of extra fitness with less stress.
#2. Stop overspending. Financial burdens are often the greatest cause of holiday stress. Stop this before it even starts by setting realistic expectations for your budget. Create a realistic budget and remind yourself and your family that the holidays are not about expensive gifts. Remember family and friends are what matter most.
#3. Start keeping a holiday “To-Do” list. Create a list of tasks and mark those with the highest priority to help reduce the risk of forgetting something and help you to better focus on the task at hand. Take small steps to deal with holiday tasks instead of overwhelming yourself with last minute shopping or gift-wrapping.
#4. Stay the course. Whether it is sticking with your routine at the club, fitting in new classes when you can, sneaking in a quick workout or working out on-the-go with the PerFit Personal Training App, do not let your fitness goals rest during the holidays. You will more stressed if you miss your workouts than you are by fitting too many other things into your schedule. Don’t let the holidays hijack your regular schedule to the point where you lose sight of fitness goals. Balance the amount of events and obligations with your regularly scheduled life to keep you and your family on course. This is especially important for those with weight loss goals or achievements during the past year. Let Christmas and Hanukkah be a time of celebration without regret.
#5. Savor time for yourself. Resist being everything for everyone. Taking care of yourself during the holidays helps to keep your mind and body healthy to deal with stress and to better care for others in your life. Be aware of your stress level and know what stresses you out during the holiday season. Learn your stress triggers and how to respond to stressful situations.
#6. Serve Others. It may seem counterintuitive to add another thing to your plate but helping others often lowers your own personal stress. A change in perspective is good for our souls. Find a local charity where you and your family can volunteer together. Helping those less fortunate also builds stronger family relationships. According to The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research published by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteers have greater longevity, a social network to buffer stress, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.
#7. Schedule time to cook healthy meals for you and your family. Don’t let the chaos of the holiday season be an excuse to start driving through fast food restaurants or eating out more often than normal. (See #2 about the ’ol budget…) Plan ahead and have meals prepared so not only will you not overspend on food this season, you will also still be able to eat healthy. Who wouldn’t rather spend that extra savings on fun family gifts, a trip or a massage or new car? Well, fast food doesn’t cost as much as a new car but you get the idea!
#8. Sleep! Get your Zzzzz. Who knew that sleep helps reduce your stress level? This, by the way, is true year round not just during the holidays. However, when faced with impending visits from Aunt Betty, Uncle Bob and cousin Susie, who always gets her way, it is best to be prepared with a full night’s sleep. No one can be expected to go into that kind of situation with limited hours of sleep and not get stressed out to the max. That is the next Lifetime® movie just waiting to happen. The holidays are supposed to be Happy not Dramatic. Get lots of good rest and get on Santa‘s (and everyone else‘s) good list!