Grab some tissues and the antihistamines, pronto!
I admit I find the holidays stressful. I even secretly feel bad about it. After all, isn’t Christmas supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? Then why, instead of feeling joyful and relaxed, I want to run and hide?
Here’s my answer – I’m an introvert. While I can have fun being social, it takes a lot out of me and I need time alone to recharge, something I don’t get much of at Christmas time. Other sources of holiday stress can be taking on too much responsibilities, family members you don’t get along with, finances running low and having high expectations that don’t always turn into reality.
Here’s the good news. If you’re feeling stressed out, you don’t need to grit your teeth and wait until the holiday season is over to take a breath. Here are some things you can do to help you feel better immediately.
Often we’re running around too busy to examine if we really need to do everything we’re trying to do. You probably don’t feel that you have time to stop and simplify your Christmas, but do it anyway. You’re bound to find a few things on your schedule that you can skip and no one will notice.
Take a break
It doesn’t have to be a week-long retreat (although it would be nice). A cup of tea by yourself, a simple mediation or a short walk can do wonders, just allow yourself to stop worrying about the holidays and think about something peaceful instead.
Ask for help
As much as having people around me at all times exhausts me, there’s a good side to it. There’s always someone to ask for help, whether you need a listening ear for something that’s on your mind or you want to leave the kids to take a few minutes to yourself.
Look after yourself
Getting lots of sleep, drinking water and taking some time to exercise can definitely help you keep in good spirit. Even if making it to the gym is out of the question, a quick stretch at home or a game of soccer with the kids can make you feel happier in no time.
Count your blessings
There’s always something good happening around you to be grateful for – a child’s smile, a reunion with an old friend, not having to get up early in the morning to go to work. Challenge yourself to look for the positives in everything and you’ll have a collection of beautiful moments by the end of the holiday season.
Image by Andi_Graf via pixabay.com
Christmas might be the time of year we look forward to the most, but it’s also a stressful time with family issues, money woes, anxiety for the year ahead and much more.
Blackmores Director of Education, Pam Stone, says: “Stress can affect people in different ways and it is important to know that there are also different things you can do to help prevent and manage its symptoms – to start to take control.”
Pam shares her top 10 tips to prevent and manage stress over the holidays, and find balance in the year ahead.
1. Prioritise your own wellbeing
Take some time out for yourself daily to do something you love and nurture you. It could be as simple as a quiet cup of tea, a long bath, massage, reading a book, taking a walk or catching up with a good friend. It can be anything you enjoy and helps you to feel good. This will keep your ‘bucket’ topped up and help you to feel refreshed and happier.
2. Manage time before time manages you
Do this by taking control of your plans and deadlines. Learn to say “no” – taking on more than you can handle is a recipe for stress. Keep a diary of your commitments and don’t forget to schedule some important free time for yourself daily.
3. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Reduce your caffeine, sugar and alcohol consumption. By reducing these from your diet, you will feel more relaxed and grounded.
4. Eat right
Proper nutrition can ensure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to maintain energy, health and general wellbeing. Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin can help provide nutrients that a busy lifestyle sometimes doesn’t allow.
5. Rest and digest
A healthy digestive system powers feelings of calm instead of stress and anxiety. Give your gut some added help with probiotics which help support digestive health and wellbeing.
6. Take a deep breath
This will help to increase your oxygen levels and can calm and relax.
Exercise releases endorphins which are feel good chemicals for the body. Exercise also helps use up hormones that are produced when we feel stressed, creating calm and promoting better sleep and relaxation at night.
8. Practice meditation
A quick 5-minute meditation can have a great impact on lowering your stress levels.
9. Ensure you are getting enough sleep
Adequate sleep rejuvenates your mind, as well as your body. If you have trouble getting to sleep set aside 30 minutes before going to bed to wind-down and relax by writing in a journal, reading a good book, drinking herbal tea or taking a warm bath. You can also take a herbal supplement containing valerian that supports your body’s natural ability to sleep soundly. Other beneficial ingredients include lemon balm and magnesium.
10. Avoid comfort foods when you’re under stress
Remember that refined carbohydrates can spike your blood sugar levels leaving you feeling more frazzled, exhausted and unable to concentrate. Focus on eating a well-balanced diet including fresh fruit and vegetables, low GI carbohydrates, lean protein, dairy and drink lots of water. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. A multivitamin can also help to provide essential nutrients to assist you through the day.