Tips for Controlling Stress During the Holidays
With Christmas and New Year’s being right around the corner and Black Friday a few days past, it’s time to keep check on your stress. There has been a long-standing myth that suicide rates increase over the holiday season. According to the Mayo Clinic this is completely false. What is true is that the rates of depression and stress do increase.
Here are six tips to help you control stress during this season:
- Plan Ahead. Write down all of the things you need to do so that you can prioritize the things that are most important. You will also be less likely to forget something if you have a list.
- Put Yourself First. With such a huge focus during the holidays on giving, it can be easy to forget to give back to yourself. Taking care of yourself will improve your mood and make it easier for you to take care of others. Set aside some time to do things you enjoy. Find time to exercise, plan a dinner out, or just get a few minutes of fresh air. And don’t forget the importance of a regular good night’s sleep.
- Learn to Say No. Avoid doing too much. Fatigue from taking on too much can dampen your spirit. Say yes, to spending more time with family and friends. Celebrate the season with the joy of giving time.
- Don’t Overspend! Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. It’s not about the presents, it’s about His presence; Christ coming to Earth for the salvation of those who choose to believe.
- Exercise and Indulge in moderation. It’s normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods effect your mood. If you eat excess fats and sweets you will have less energy. Take a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal. Exercise and other types of physical activity stimulate the production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are brain chemicals that function as a natural painkiller. They can trigger a positive feeling in the body, boosting mood and reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.
Understandably, you might be busy and have little time for physical activity during the holidays. However, it doesn't take much time to maintain a calm mental state. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a minimum of three times each week. Find an activity that works for you and your lifestyle. You may want to consider: walking, jogging, biking, playing sports, strength training and aerobics.
- Learn Forgiveness and Acceptance. You can choose your friends, but not your relatives!
If some of your relatives have always acted out or made you feel bad, chances are that won’t change. If you know what you are getting into, it will be easier not to let them push your buttons. If things get uncomfortable go to a movie or for a drive and adjust your attitude.
May this season bring you much joy and love, and may the true meaning of the season touch your heart!
To Your Health and Happiness,