‘Tis the season to be merry? Maybe not so much.
With Christmas right around the corner, millions of us are losing our minds trying to plan events, purchase presents, and get everything sorted before the big day. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and relaxation, spending time with your family and seeing friends. Instead they’re often filled with stress, panic, and anxiety. This can lead to rapid and unnecessary weight gain as we try to cover the stress in sugar or booze. Not to mention the excessive amounts of caffeine we use to make us feel more productive and less tired. According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), “stress can have wide ranging effects on emotions, mood and behavior“. The AIS went on to list common signs and symptoms including feeling overloaded or overwhelmed, worry, and nervousness. If unmanaged, most of these symptoms end up feeding right back into the same stress and anxiety we’re trying to avoid. Not good.
Today, we’re going to look at exactly how to combat holiday stress the right way so you can actually enjoy the holiday season opposed to being scared of it.
1. Make a To-Do List
This may sound obvious, but making an effective to-do list is key to making sure everything gets done in a neat and orderly way. Opposed to just displaying everything you need to get done so you panic even more, order each item in terms of importance. Execute the list from the most to least important item, only focusing on one at a time. Don’t do little bits of everything all at once – that’s a sure-fire way to raise your blood pressure. Get each task done to the best of your ability and once it’s finished, move on.
2. Allow ‘Me-Time Breaks
As the holidays are a time for giving, we can easily lose track of what makes ourselves happy. Letting yourself have small breaks to enjoy something you enjoy such as a TV program, chapter of a book or just a nice meal can make a real difference to calming you down. Remember, this isn’t wasted time. A calm you is a more productive you.
3. Get outside
One of the most effective techniques for combatting stress and depression is exercise. It doesn’t need to be rigorous or exhausting, it just needs to get you moving. If you combine this with the great outdoors, you’ve got a two-pronged attack on stress. If you can feel your cortisol rising, go for a 20-minute walk in the great outdoors. Forget about what you need to do, listen to some good music or a podcast, and settle into the walk. Exercise not only helps to improve our mood, but also our brain function. So once you get back to the tasks at hand, you’ll probably find you can get more done much quicker.
The holidays are all about having fun and keeping happy. If you’re not in the right mind-set, take a deep breath, acknowledge what the problem is, find out a solution, and do it. Just remember to breathe – this time is for you as much as it is for everything else.
Personal Trainer Devon Shurden has helped clients around the country. Hit up Devon to start making your Fit Life Choices.