It’s that time of year once again. Yes, the holidays are upon us and with them comes the colder weather, shopping, huge meals, lots of family time, and let’s not forget the stress. You all know what I’m talking about; the pushy crowds of Christmas shoppers, the icy roads, the weight gain, the whole family getting together, and all the anxiety that goes with it. Keeping the stress at a minimum is next to impossible around the holidays. I don’t consider myself an anxious person, but even I get worn down this time of year. Between the tension that forms in my shoulders while driving on a dark, icy road, the mass amounts of food I prepare every year, and making gifts for friends and relatives, I can recognize when the stress really begins to sink in. I can feel my eye start to twitch just thinking about it.
Everyone experiences stress in different ways. Some people lose their tempers, others may feel sick to their stomachs, and even more may over eat, which is almost a given this time of year. Instead of finding productive ways to relieve their stress, many succumb to the anger and tension that accompanies it, which in turn makes things even more stressful. Here are some great ways to relieve your holiday stress without inflicting more on others:
Get a massage! Studies have repeatedly shown that massage is a perfect way to induce complete mental and physical relaxation. Almost everyone can benefit from the wonderful effects of massage therapy, especially during the holidays.
Avoid over-eating. Over-eating can bring feelings of guilt, which is only going to increase your stress levels. It’s alright to indulge, but stay in control.
Be kind. Everyone experiences stress during the holidays, and one great way to relieve that stress is by showing others kindness and patience. Everyone is fighting a battle you might know nothing about. Making others smile; giving the gift of being considerate to a stranger will make you feel better as well. Just like the old saying “tis better to give than to receive.”
Exercise is one of, if not the best way to relieve stress any time of year. Exercising will not only release endorphins, the feel-good hormone, to elevate your mood, but you’ll also be keeping your weight in check, which everyone struggles with during the holidays.
Maintain your Balance. We all know that this time of year there are obligations to keep, people to see, preparations to be made. But remember, don’t push yourself to the breaking point. Recognize what will stress you out, and make adjustments to avoid it. If it can’t be avoided, find what will make the stress more bearable. This is the season for giving, but not at the expense of your own health.
Don’t let the stress get the best of you. Keep these tips in mind this year and let the holiday spirit shine through you to set a positive example to others you encounter this season. With all the anxiety and negativity in our day to day lives, this time of year should be a time of peace and time spent with those we love. So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or any other holiday you celebrate this time of year, enjoy it to the fullest and have a wonderful New Year!