5 Tips To Lower Your Holiday Stress
by, Synergy eTherapy Staff
Thanksgiving is behind us, and the eat, drink, and be merry season is officially in full swing. It’s time to throw a party and go to parties, reconnect with family and friends, and find that special something for that special someone.
It’s all fun, but it can get exhausting and, well, not that much fun after a while. If you’ve reached that point, or feel like you’re on your way there, here are 5 tips to be sure your holiday cheer lasts the whole season (and beyond)!
Don’t Forget to Exercise – Everyone knows that exercise is good for our physical health and now more and more studies are showing that it’s good for our mental health too. You’ve probably heard of “runner’s high,” and now there’s science that explains where that comes from. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to run, or even go to the gym to get it. Any form of physical activity like gardening, cleaning, or walking, will have the same effect. Fitting in some sort of exercise or physical activity for half an hour, 3 times a week, will go a long way to helping you feel festive.
Meditate — Mindfulness meditation, the practice of focusing on being in the present moment non-judgmentally, has shown to improve sleep, mood, how well our brains function, and chronic pain. As the evidence showing the positive effects of meditation continues to grow, even the U.S. Army has joined the meditation ranks with their own study showing the benefits of meditation for soldiers during deployment.
Keep your regular routines as much as possible – So much fun to be had over the holidays, and you definitely don’t want to miss out! But all of that fun disrupts your normal routines, and research shows we’re happier when we have them! So, what to do? It’s easier said than done, especially during the holidays, but try to keep sight of the things you do every day that keep you in your happy place. Try to make time for your favorite routines, whether it’s taking your pooch for a morning walk or taking the time to read before bed.
…try to keep sight of the things you do every day that keep you in your happy place.
Try not to overindulge – If one slice of pie is good, then two is better, right? Unfortunately, for those of us with a sweet tooth, the opposite is true. The opportunity for seconds increases exponentially over the holiday season (you’ve probably already gotten a taste of this–pun intended–over Thanksgiving!), and when it comes to adult holiday beverages, the downside of overindulging increases exponentially. Remember that alcohol, while initially upping the jolly-ness quotient, is a depressant, so if you’re already feeling a little down, another holiday beverage is only more likely to add to the feeling.
Don’t try to do too much — This one goes hand in hand with all of the tips. If you are finding time to meditate, fitting in some sort of physical activity, and managing to keep at least a few of your regular routines intact, then odds are probably doing a good job of not overdoing it. Saying no is easier said than done, though, especially during the holidays. Still, it may just pay back the most significant mental health dividends by giving you back at least some of the time for your need for self-care.
If you end up doing the opposite of any (or all) of these tips, don’t be hard on yourself! Think of them as handy tools in your holiday toolbox and use them when you feel the need. Trying to relax shouldn’t become another source of stress! Here is another great article of an End of the Year Guide from Groom + Style.
A Final Thought
What should you do if you checked everything off our list, and maybe even some that aren’t on it, but you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the holidays? Don’t worry, it can happen, and it’s an excellent time to consider talking to a therapist. Therapists are trained and dedicated to helping people work through just this sort of challenge. Always remember, you don’t need to do it alone.
We hope you find these tips helpful and would love to hear your suggestions for keeping the holiday cheer!
Happy Holidays everyone, we sincerely hope this season brings you joy and happiness!