During the holiday season, we strive to remain calm and serene and happy only to face many demands. Shopping, family visits, meals and food planning, parties, and all the preparation that goes with these demands can make us feel stressed versus serene. How can you reduce your stress? Try these helpful hints.
- Take care of your body. This is the time to do all the things you know are good for you—getting enough sleep; taking it easy on the sugar, alcohol, and caffeine; getting regular exercise; eating healthy foods; taking time to breathe; laughing. These basic self-care practices are the foundation of good health no matter what the season.
- Listen to yourself. Take time every day to “check in” with your body and how it is feeling. Make small corrections frequently to relieve discomfort before it becomes too great. Breathe. Move. Stretch. Daydream. Give yourself a neck massage. Laugh. Gaze at something beautiful or natural. Listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs.
- Stay grounded and relaxed. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to start each day with a “grounding” practice such as meditation, breath work, yoga, a walk in nature, stroking a pet, or engaging in a soothing ritual. Try to do this for at least 5 minutes at least twice daily. You can do this more frequently if necessary.
- Know your “no.” The ability to say “yes” (or “no”) to opportunities that may (or may not) be in your best interests is a powerful healing tool. The holiday season is often the time that most of us try to do too much and this creates the exact opposite of the holiday feeling we are striving to feel. We end up being cranky, frustrated, agitated, resentful, martyred. As a result, we don’t enjoy the simple, joyful moments of the season. Let go of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of “how things are supposed to be” and know your limitations.
- Keep your sense of humor. Your sense of humor is a sure-fire way to provide distance, balance, and perspective in any situation—if only for a moment. This does not mean mocking others. It means stepping back, and taking everything (especially ourselves) less seriously. Laughter changes the body’s chemistry and “emotional clutter” like nothing else. Make a game of finding the ludicrous, paradoxical, and nonsensical in every day life and remember to enjoy at least 5 good belly laughs each and every day!