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Tips To Help Reduce Stress Of The Holiday Season

During the holiday season, we can allow many situations and circumstances to create extra stress in our lives. During the next few weeks, I will share some ways to reduce the stress of the season.

First, a list of things to do:

  • Soothe with food: Eat several mini-meals between meals of natural carbohydrates. They elevate mood-regulating brain chemical, serotonin, which exerts a calming effect on the entire body.
  • Ask three questions: Is this important? Is my reaction appropriate? Is this situation changeable? Take action to change it.
  • Exercise: Physical activity reduces anxiety and depression. Aerobic exercise is best but choose and exercise that you enjoy.
  • Check your perspective: Do only the tasks that would have serious consequences if left undone. Will you die if you don’t do the laundry?
  • Skip some routine chores: Take at least a half-hour daily to do something you enjoy to recharge yourself.
  • Take a mini-breather: Belly breathe throughout the day periodically. It keeps oxygen going to your brain and slows you down in anxious moments.
  • Look at the light side: A good laugh relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure and suppresses stress-related hormones.
  • Reduce caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that runs up the nervous system and makes you more susceptible to stress. A good replacement is green tea.
  • Take a time out: An overloaded schedule causes anxiety. Schedule a half hour of nothing in a workday. If emergencies or calls come in, you have extra time.
  • Say a little prayer: Prayer reduces stress hormones and balances emotions. It gives you inner calm and can help “heal thyself.”
  • Make a list of likes and dislikes: List as a family what parts of the holiday each likes and dislikes. Eliminate as many dislikes as possible.
  • Shop year round: Buy gifts throughout the year rather than wait until the last minute. Start baking and cooking earlier for those items that will stay fresh.

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