5 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

This is a busy time of year and for some people, a very stressful time of year.  Already long to-do lists become even longer.  Evenings and weekends that used to provide opportunities to catch up, to relax, to breath are now filled with parties, gatherings or shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating and more.

Sometimes, the stress of the season takes over the joy.  If you are feeling more stressed than joyful lately, perhaps one of the following tips will help bring the joy back.

1.  Check your list … twice.  Take a look at all those items on your to-do list.  Now go back, take another look and ask yourself “Why is this on my list?”  What will happen if you take it off your list?  If you’re like me, there are probably some things on your list that are not particularly meaningful to you or the person who it will or will not impact.  It’s there because it’s always been there and if you take it off, others may very well breath a sigh of relief as well.

2.  Make someone else’s day a little brighter.  Bringing a smile to someone else’s face benefits the giver as well as the recipient.  When we make someone feel special, we feel just a little better. We walk a little taller, there is a little more pep in our step and we are less likely to lose it when some cranky, stressed out person snaps at us or cuts in front of us.  Making someone else’s day a little brighter can be as simple as a genuinely friendly smile, taking a moment to stop and talk to them or bringing them a hot coffee.

3. Focus on one thing at a time.   Multitasking does not help you get through your list more quickly.  It slows you down.  Numerous studies prove that constantly switching between tasks reduces our efficiency, our productivity.  Glenn Wilson, out of of Kings College, found that IQ points drops more quickly when multitasking as compared to smoking pot.  Now, who has time for that?

4.  Eat properly.  Oh go ahead .. have some holiday goodies, but don’t forget your veggies and other healthy food. And don’t forget to eat or decide not to eat breakfast and lunch because you’re going to a holiday party in the evening.  Your body needs healthy fuel throughout the day to function properly and at maximum efficiency.

5.  Get some exercise.  Go for a walk.  Do something to burn off those stressful feelings.  Not only will you feel better physically, you’ll feel better emotionally and mentally. Even 15 minutes here and there throughout the day gives you a moment to focus on you, on keeping you sane and healthy.  And let’s face it, the better you feel, the better those around you feel.

Bonus tip:  Be thankful.  There are many people who don’t have family or friends to celebrate with. They don’t have warm, safe place to call home.  Instead of focusing on the stuff and the to-do list, focus on the people and be thankful they are in your life.


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