5 Tips to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

The holiday season is considered the most wonderful time of the year… but it can also be the most stressful time of year. Between family gatherings, social obligations, finding the perfect gift for someone, managing your spending budget, coordinating travel arrangements, cooking, and minimizing family drama; the stress can easily build up. The good news, though, is that sneaking some stress relief into your busy schedule can be easier than you thought. Here are a few tips that can help you feel grounded and balanced during the holiday season.

Get some exercise

The holiday parties and celebratory meals are often indulgent and can leave us feeling guilty or lethargic with concerns of gaining weight. While it might be tougher to be motivated to exercise in the winter months, it’s a great way to both stay in shape and manage your stress during the holidays. Taking a class at a gym, a brisk walk in the evening or sneaking in 20 minutes of exercise twice a day will help you feel less guilty for over indulging the night before and you’ll kick up your endorphins leaving you in a better mood.

Get outside

If you’re feeling a little overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you may want to pull on your winter coat and head outside. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce your cortisol — otherwise known as the stress hormone — levels. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of spending time outside, you can reap some of the benefits. Just looking at photos of nature has been found to have some benefits.

Take some time for yourself — and don’t be afraid to say no

The holidays are all about being with loved ones, so it can be easy to overlook yourself. But if you’re feeling stressed, don’t be afraid to call a timeout and spend some time on self-care. Maybe your self-care is taking a bubble bath, scheduling a massage, heading to the gym, playing solitaire on your phone, enjoying a glass of wine with a friend, or indulging in some retail therapy — whatever it is, enjoy the moment and let yourself feel refreshed.

It’s okay to ask for help

We all need a little help sometimes, and the holidays are a time for lending a hand. If you’re experiencing financial hardships, there are a number of organizations (like Toys for Tots or the Salvation Army) that can make sure you’re able to have a happy holiday. You can also take a creative approach — get your friends and family together for an activity or volunteer event in lieu of exchanging gifts.

Don’t forget to rest

Sure, there will be a few late nights, but try to go to bed and wake up at the same time, day after day, as much as you can. This will support your body’s inherent sleep-wake cycle and set you up for better quality shuteye when bedtime comes around. If you attend a late-night party, try to wake up within an hour of your usual time the next day, even if you’re tired. Sleeping in on weekends can backfire, leaving you with the equivalent of social jet lag. If you need a pick-me-up, take a well-timed siesta in the afternoon.

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