8 Tips to Managing Your Stress this Season
It’s the holiday season and with this festive time of year comes parties, food, laughter, cocktails, Christmas lights, merriment, and … stress. In fact, Harvard Business Review sites that “the American Psychological Association found that 38% of people say their stress increases during the holidays.” For some, the expectations placed on this time of year only lead them to one big letdown, and so they walk into the New Year with a case of the blues.
So, what can you do to combat the cons of the most wonderful time of the year and focus on the pros? We’ve got some tips to help you alleviate your stress and practice self-care and wellness this holiday season.
1. Time Management
One moment, you’re at the beginning of November, thinking of all you want to do and accomplish for the holidays and the next, it’s the week of Christmas, and you still have to buy all your gifts, host a party, decorate cookies, meet those work deadlines, and help out at your kid's school Christmas party. You’re exhausted and there’s not enough hours in the day, which means you’re sleeping less because of that extra-long to-do list.
What can you do? Work on time-management this season. Write out your to-do list and prioritize it – check it off so you can see your progress. Plus, if you write out what you need to do, you’ll spend less time trying to remember everything and more time doing!
That brings us to our next tip.
2. Set Boundaries
Know when to say “no”. Some things must get done, like work deadlines. But you don’t have to volunteer for every event in December. You don’t even have to attend every event you’re invited to. Ask yourself, “Will this bring me joy or stress?” Say “yes” to the joy and “no” to the stress when possible.
You can also practice setting boundaries with family members. Everyone has a lot of expectations around the holidays, and it’s impossible to meet everyone’s, so kindly and lovingly set boundaries with family members when the expectations don’t serve your family well.
3. Exercise Daily
The Mayo Clinic states that “exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever.” It increases the release of endorphins, can improve mood, and reduces negative effects of stress. Pair your exercise with being outside and you’ll get double the benefit. With less daylight in the winter, getting outside is even more important to help with mood and energy.
4. Practice Relaxation
While we’re talking about daily exercise, let’s throw in some daily relaxation. Even 5 to 10 minutes of deep breathing or another form of relaxation can be a great way to end your run or peloton session. Plus, the more you practice relaxation, the more natural it will be to use it when you’re feeling stressed.
5. Fuel Your Body
It can be tough sticking to healthy foods during the holidays. But too much sugar can really take a toll on more than just your waistline. It affects mood, energy, and sleep. Not to mention, when you feed your gut sugar, bad bacteria is fueled, and bad bacteria craves sugar. It becomes a vicious cycle. When you focus on gut health and fuel your body appropriately, good bacteria grow and those sugar cravings majorly decrease. This holiday, focus on fueling your body for energy and health, and enjoy those desserts in moderation.
6. Establish a Self-Care Routine
The Oxford dictionary defines self-care as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” Self-care should be practiced year-round but even more so during the holidays. Maybe self-care looks like taking a night off and meeting friends downtown for a drink. Or maybe, it looks like being by yourself, with a cup of tea and a book. Identify a few options for your own personal self-care and incorporate them into the months of December and January. Schedule in self-care at least a couple times a week and make it a priority.
7. Get Enough Sleep
The Sleep Foundation linked the benefits of sleep and mental health, stating that “sufficient sleep, especially REM sleep, facilitates the brain’s processing of emotional information. […] This can influence mood and emotional reactivity and is tied to mental health […].” Sleep is a huge component of all aspects of our health – emotional, psychological, physical – and it affects how we are able or unable to show up in the busyness of our lives.
The CDC found that “more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.” This is the case for several reasons – difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting back to sleep when waking throughout the night.
Taking a sleep supplement can help, but make sure you do your research. Slumber’s CBN products are non-habit forming, have no negative side effects, do not contain harmful fillers, and are made of natural formulas. The Extra Strength CBN gummy and Full Spectrum Deep ZZZs gummy are great places to start.
8. Start a Gratitude Journal
Last but not least, start a gratitude journal. We can often lose the meaning of the holiday season. Taking time to write down what you are grateful for can do wonders for stress and mood, alike. You might even include a little thank you to those who have impacted your life through this past year.
Make this the best holiday yet.
Stress is different from person to person and there isn't just one way to alleviate it. Try out these steps, keep what works and toss what doesn't. There's a saying that says, "nothing changes if nothing changes." Start creating that change for yourself this holiday season and make it the best yet by truly enjoying the end of 2022 and stepping into 2023 refreshed.