Being stressed during the holiday season seems to be a given. We have so much to do and want everything to be perfect. By making a few lifestyle changes though, you can dramatically reduce stress during the holidays, despite it being such a hectic time of year.
Yes, some of these are pretty basic. I feel like it’s worth the reminder though. We get so wrapped up in creating the “perfect” Christmas that we forget the basics. Take a few minutes and read through these reminders. Then find a way to incorporate them into your holiday plans.
How To Reduce Stress During The Holiday Season
Actually, this is how to reduce stress at any time. Most people just aren’t as good at remembering these tips during the holiday season. I know it’s a cliche but you can’t give to others from an empty well. Take care of yourself.
A body without enough rest is prone to all sorts of health issues as well as injuries. Few people feel that they receive adequate sleep each night. As a result, many rely on caffeine in order to stay awake and energized. This can back-fire because it can lead to the inability to fall asleep at night which then sets up a cycle of little sleep and caffeine dependence.
Make a point of going to bed at the same time every night, even if you don’t fall asleep right away. When you keep a set schedule, you’re training your body to begin powering down to ready itself for sleep.
Put away electronic devices and do not engage with them once you have gotten ready for bed. Turn off all lights so that your room is completely dark. This, too, will train your body and mind that it’s time for sleep.
CYN’S PRO TIP: I make my bedroom cozy and Christmasy. I add flannel sheets to my bed along with a holiday quilt, an essential oil diffuser to scent the room with relaxing holiday smells, and even add a few fairy lights to set the scene for a calm pre-bed routine. I take a little time to read something holiday themed – cheerful and festive – to further the mood.
Stress can be reduced by exercising each day. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout routine, you can make the time for short sessions each day. Once you make this commitment, you’ll begin to see the health benefits of taking this time for yourself. Try to include resistance and cardiovascular exercise.
Exercise also will help reduce body fat levels. High levels of body fat have been associated with higher stress levels. By exercising, you are reducing your stress levels and improving your overall health.
CYN’S PRO TIP: It is easy peasy to incorporate physical activity into a holiday celebration. Go ice skating or skiing together. Head to the nearest tobogganing hill. Take the family on a walk around the neighborhood to see the beautiful Christmas decorations. Go caroling together. Turn on upbeat holiday music and have a dance party!
Eating because you are stressed is one of the most common ways that people derail their health. Many times eating is an unconscious way of self-soothing. Eating too much fat and sugar leads to more stress on your body down the road.
Replace junk food with natural food options so that you are actually feeding your body rather than adding stress to it. Making healthy changes in your diet will have a marked improvement on your ability to deal with stress.
Make an effort to cut out processed foods and opt for protein-based sugar-free smoothies or healthy oatmeal to start your day. Do some simple meal planning each week to ensure that you have healthy foods prepped and ready for easy meals so that you’re not relying on fast food.
CYN’S PRO TIP: This might just be the hardest one for most of us. I’m not suggesting you give up ALL holiday treats. Trust me, I’ll be noshing on shortbread cookies and drinking eggnog! I just make a point to have those treats as PART of my diet, not the whole thing. The rest of the time, I make sure that I’m eating lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support my overall health and immune system.
Taking the time to make these changes in your lifestyle habits will result in a much happier and less stressful holiday season as well as health benefits for you and your body.