The holidays are here and for many, they invoke sentimental memories of family, friends, food, and gifts. But for far too many of us, the holidays bring with them endless to-do lists and an unusually high level of stress. Below are four simple ways to manage stress and cultivate a sense of calm in this hectic time. Your health just might depend on it.
1. Vent Freely
Find a way to get your feelings out, whether through journaling to freely express your thoughts or confiding in someone who makes you feel seen and heard. The simple act of a good vent session can often help relieve some of the pressure we may be feeling. We don’t always realize how much we are holding onto until we let it out.
2. Acts of Service
When we become consumed with our own stress, doing something kind for someone else can get us out of our heads and ground us in the present. No matter what’s going on, it’s always a wonderful feeling to be kind and make a difference for somebody else. It can be as simple as complimenting a stranger we see out while shopping. After all, it is the holiday season, and kindness creates a ripple effect.
3. Meditate/Move your body:
Whether it be hitting your meditation cushion in a traditional manner or getting a good sweat in, both activities can bring us back into the present moment. It’s so easy during chaotic times to lose ourselves in our thoughts. Nourishing the mind-body connection can help us turn within and slow down in times of stress.
4. Give Yourself Permission to Say No
This can be tremendously difficult for some of us, but I find this to be one of the most self-loving things we can do. Don’t over-commit in order to please others. We have only so much time and energy to give away. Get honest with what should have your attention, and reschedule things that can be pushed until things slow down. We often spread ourselves thin and feel worse for doing so. It will always be more fulfilling to spend our energy wisely so that we can show up more fully for our commitments.
From shopping and wrapping gifts to cooking and traveling, we are on high energy during the holidays. Throw in some family drama, and you have yourself a potent cortisol drip. But by articulating your feelings, serving others, falling back on stress-reduction practices like meditation and exercise, and leveraging your boundaries, you can manage your stress response and set yourself up for a calm, more peaceful holiday season.
Disclaimer: The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products or treatments mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult a licensed medical practitioner for medical advice.
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