Staying Stress-Free during the Holidays
It seems the holiday cheer falls upon us earlier and earlier every year. Christmas candy hits the shelves the day after Halloween, and Black Friday shopping has taken over Thanksgiving. What may not be on everyone’s mind while they scour flyers searching for the best holiday deals is the considerable amount of stress we put on our bodies during the holiday months. According to a study conducted by the American Physiological Association, 38 percent of people feel their stress increases around the holidays. Stress can negatively impact our health from increasing blood pressure to spiked depression and anxiety levels. Here are several tips on how to reduce stress during the holidays, allowing you to focus on spreading cheer and spending time with the ones you love.
Keep yourself in mind. When people think of the holidays they think of spending time with family and friends—this usually means a lot of running around, often leaving you overwhelmed and drained. It is important to remember to take time for yourself this holiday season. Treat yourself to a new book for a little relaxation, invest in a lovely bubble bath to help you unwind after a long day of shopping, or simply plan a lazy day amidst all your holiday activities.
Maintain a normal schedule. Although the holiday season lasts several months, it often feels as though there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Even with a bunch of sugar cookies to frost it is important to stick to your schedule. Going to bed at your “normal” time allows your body to regenerate, leaving you feeling rested the next day and ready to untangle the forty strands of Christmas lights you've been putting off since last year. A task as simple as sticking to your normal schedule also provides organization amidst the chaos of wrapping gifts and holiday parties.
You’re not alone. When it feels like your holiday checklist is getting longer instead of shorter, remember that you are not the only person feeling frazzled. During this time it is important to remember to exercise compassion as many others are also experiencing the same stress you are. Sometimes just slowing down and letting the needs of others come first will allow you the moment you need to reenergize yourself while providing a helping hand to someone in need.
Remember, most importantly, to enjoy the holidays and spend time with family and friends. From all of us at ClearChoiceMD, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
Zaide Ladensack, author of this blog post, is a member of our team in Scarborough, ME.