Holiday Stress: Living in Moderation and Finding Meaning

I’m back from a few days away and wanted to check-in. Traveling at this time of the year is rare for me; in fact, it was the first time I’ve ever vacationed in December. It was strange seeing holiday decorations in 85-degree weather! 🌴🎄
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to get away. Life had been getting stressful and my body was responding in negative ways: I wasn’t sleeping, my digestion was way off, and my energy and moods were very low (oh, and I had this nagging eye twitch that would not stop). It’s amazing all the ways stress can affect the body.
We can’t all take a vacation when stress (especially holiday stress), ramps up but it’s important to know how you can manage the effects stress may have on you. Stress looks different for everyone; some of my stress “symptoms” were fairly familiar: tiredness, low energy, and poor digestion, but I also experienced a skin rash and an eye twitch, both of which might seem like odd ways my body responded to the stress I was experiencing.
The holiday season, while generally a happy and festive time, can bring on stress for even those who are mostly stress-immune. The season can trigger you to feel like you have more responsibilities and less time; you may have financial worries, you may have to deal with difficult family members, or you may experience anxiety managing your diet while surrounded by rich foods and decadent treats.
Here are some tips for managing the stress you might experience over the next few weeks.
Listen to music (holiday music counts!)
Music not only helps you relax, but it can also bring about creativity, and increase motivation.
Connect with friends
When we connect with friends, we tend to enjoy ourselves. This allows us to have fun, laugh, and feel supported by the people we are about.
Laugh and make time for fun
Laughter is the best medicine; it increases your breathing rate, releases dopamine (the “feel good” chemical in your body), and lowers blood pressure.
Celebrate a small win every day
It’s important to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Rewarding yourself can boost your motivation.
Ask for help
Don’t try to do it all by yourself; know what you can do and ask for help when you need it.
Talk positively to yourself
Balance any negative thoughts you may have with positive affirmations. Replace “I’m not capable of doing this” with “I am capable of doing many things but I need help with this”
Get enough sleep
A good night’s sleep is important to help your body regenerate itself. Aim for 7-8 hours each night.
Write it down
If you can take a few minutes to “brain dump” or write things down, doing so will release the emotion of what you’re feeling.
Do one thing at a time
Create a to-do list and set priorities to help you focus and concentrate. Not only will you feel more at ease working through your list, but you’ll also improve the quality of what you do.
Take a few deep breaths
Even just a few deep breaths help to release tension and relax your mind and body. Deep breathing brings greater clarity and elevates your mood.
Go for a walk
Get some fresh air, activate your body, and clear your mind.
Try to maintain your healthy eating habits but also enjoy the festive treats and holiday dinners. Practice moderation and balance so you can enjoy all the season has to offer.
Holidays are meant to be a fun, enjoyable time with friends and family. Give yourself whatever you need to reduce stress so you can fully appreciate and find meaning during this time.
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