Why can holidays be so stressful?

The holiday season is often portrayed as a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, for many people, it can also be a time of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. The pressure to find the perfect gifts, attend numerous social events, and meet the expectations of family and friends can take a toll on both our mental and physical well-being.

Here are 5 strategies to beat the holiday hurry to enjoy this special time of year and maintain your health.

Strategy 1: Make Lists

Who says Santa and children are the only ones who make lists during Christmas? Make a list and don’t think about it twice.

One effective strategy to combat holiday stress is to make lists. Start by creating a to-do list of all the tasks and responsibilities you need to manage during the holiday season. This can be the day, week, or month. The purpose is to get it out of your brain and on paper to  help you stay organized and prioritize your time and energy.

Keep lists on your phone or feel the satisfaction of crossing it off paper manually with a pen - try both and see which one you like better.

Some common lists I use myself and suggest to my clients:

  1. Daily To-Dos for home or work (projects, deadlines, chores)
  2. Healthy Habits (water intake, vitamins, steps)
  3. Grocery Lists
  4. Gift Lists
  5. Event Schedules with related tasks (purchase gift, buy dress, etc)

Strategy 2: Practice Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques are a powerful tool to manage stress and promote relaxation. When you start feeling overwhelmed, take a few moments to focus on your breath.

I recommend box breathing to my clients. This simple technique can help calm your nervous system and bring a sense of calmness and clarity. Here’s how:

  1. Find a comfortable position: Sit or lie down in a quiet and comfortable space.
  2. Inhale: Take a slow, deep breath through your nose for a count of four.
  3. Hold: Hold your breath for a count of four.
  4. Exhale: Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of four.
  5. Hold: Hold your breath for a count of four.
  6. Repeat: Repeat the cycle for a few minutes, focusing on the rhythm of your breath.

Strategy 3: Keep up your Exercise Routine

Regular exercise is not only beneficial for physical health but also for mental well-being. Keeping up your regular routine or starting a new routine is a great way to release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, whether it's going for a walk, practicing yoga, or hitting the gym. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

Strategy 4: Fuel Your Body

During the holiday season, it's easy to indulge in unhealthy foods and overeat. However, a poor diet can contribute to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and increased stress and work against you. Make an effort to nourish your body with nutritious foods. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your meals. Save the sweets and alcohol for celebrations by limiting your intake as they can negatively impact your mood and energy levels.

Strategy 5: Targeted Supplementation

In addition to a healthy diet, certain supplements can support your body's stress response. Consider incorporating supplements like vitamin B complex, magnesium, and adaptogens such as ashwagandha or rhodiola into your routine. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements to ensure they are safe and appropriate for you.

Check out the quiz on the Stress Support page to help find your targeted regimen.

By implementing these strategies, you can take proactive steps to beat holiday stress and enjoy a more peaceful and joyful season.  Wishing you a stress-free and happy holiday season!

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