It's easy to get caught up in the hectic nature of the holidays. When we focus on stressors, our mind and body follow suit by tensing up and preparing for fight or flight. This nervous reaction takes away from the peace and love that characterizes the holiday season.
Treat yourself to a stress-free holiday season by staying mindful, present, and centered with these 4 stress management tips!
1. Accept imperfection
Unrealistic standards for ourselves and feeling like everything needs to be perfect does not have to be the norm. Not everything will go as planned and it's okay if things are not perfect! Imperfection is healthy and normal; it just takes practice.
2. Take some time for yourself — and don’t be afraid to say no
It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season and forget about taking care of yourself. But if you're feeling stressed, don't hesitate to take a break and do something for yourself - whether it's taking a bubble bath, getting a message, reading a book, exercising, or saying no to that extra invitation. Make time to enjoy the things you love to help you keep your sanity in between all of the parties, travel schedules, deadlines at work and shopping trips.
3. Practice Mindfulness
The holiday season is a hectic time of year, so take a few minutes each day to center yourself and appreciate the present. Notice the small things around you. Notice smells, sounds, sights and feelings to help ground you in the moment and improve your focus.
Feel free to give this breathing technique a try!
Step 1: Start by sitting in a quiet place. If quiet is impossible to find at this moment, mentally shut out the clabber and turn inward. Closing the eyes may help.
Step 2: Place your hands on your low belly and start to deepen the breath.
Breathe in for 4 slow counts
Rest with full lungs for 2 counts
Breathe out for 6 slow counts
Rest with empty lungs for 2 counts
Step 3: Repeat this sequence 9 more times.
Feel better? Most people say they notice a difference even after 2-3 rounds. If you found it helped, keep this technique with you. The breath is one of our most powerful tools for calming the nervous system, and we carry it with us always.
4. Get plenty of sleep & stay healthy
Too little sleep leads to an overactive brain, which in turn causes anxiety. So next time you're considering staying up all night for the third time in a week, get some rest instead. Not only will it lower your stress and anxiety levels, but it will also bolster your immune system.
It's important to not forget about nature and movement even when it's cold outside! Throw on some extra layers and get yourself moving. Exercising provides our bodies with an outlet to release stress hormones, after all, and being in nature is vital for both our emotional wellbeing as well as physical health. So go explore your neighborhood on a lights walking tour or have a blast in a snowball fight with your family, friends, or neighbors (play counts as exercise too). Anything active is better than nothing at all!
Stay true to yourself & Happy Holidays!