Reducing Holiday Stress

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The holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can be quite stressful. After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones. All of this on top of your normal everyday life can be overwhelming, to say the least.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.

The stress-free guidance I'd love to share include…

After wrapping presents be present: It can be difficult, I understand. It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or email when we have a free moment – do you do the same? One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room. Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your gathered love ones. When I’m feeling particularly scatter-brained, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses. What do I smell? What do I hear? What do I feel? Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else. It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Let go of expectations: A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect. That’d be lovely, of course, but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry. Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up. There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned, spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can. Tis the season!

Move your body: It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel. Even if it’s just a brisk walk after waking up or after lunch or dinner. Make it a habit to bundle up in your favorite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or go with someone you enjoy being around. Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate up.

What are your favorite ways to get some movement in during the cold months? My favorite way to stay moving during the cold season is yoga. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. You can choose a vinyasa flow to build heat and sweat off your holiday dinners or take it slow in a gentle or restorative yoga postures to relax and renew your body, mind, and spirit.

The holidays are a time for fun and love. You can stop stress in its tracks by following the above tips and actually enjoy this jolly season.

How To Stop Stress Eating This Holiday Season. You Have The Power.

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The holidays can be a great time of joy for many. But for others, this is a time filled with anxiety and stress. Sometimes, even for those that love the family get-togethers, the stress of holiday shopping, finances, and hosting relatives can tear them apart. When stress hits at this time of year, it’s easy to turn to that tray of Christmas cookies for moral support. After all, cookies won’t criticize you for your life choices the way your family will.

But that’s not healthy and you know it. Plus, you’ll feel even less joy when you realize you’ve undone the whole year’s worth of fitness you’ve worked so hard for. If you find the holidays cause you to gobble down more than you should as a way to cope with the stress, I present to you these 5 ways to stop the stress eating before the first tray of cookies is hurried out to the company break room.

Meditate

Meditation is a tool that will help you handle any stress that you have to face. Sitting still, in silence for 5,10,or 20 minutes is the one spiritual practice I never stop. If you commit to meditating just 10 minutes a day, your outlook, reactions, and over all wellness will change for the better. Meditating is stress-reduction superstar.

Activity

When your boss announces there are no bonus checks this Christmas or your running behind on shopping for your Christmas list, instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, get outside in the fresh air for a walk, hit the gym, take a yoga class, or just do something physical that appeals to you. You’ll release the stress and the exercise will help release the proper chemicals in your brain to make you feel better.

Stimulate your brain

The brain needs exercise too. Instead of letting it harp on the negative things that cause you to stress-eat, give it something constructive to do. Take 10 to 20 minutes to yourself to read something you want to read, work on a crossword puzzle, participate on a ballroom dance class or do something else that stimulates your mind in an enjoyable way. It will help you feel refreshed.

Focus on healthy eating

It’s true the holidays are certainly a time for more indulgent meals. When you focus on healthy eating on a daily basis, prior to the big family dinners, it won’t be such a shock to your waistline. Make sure you’re eating meals as you would normally without skipping them. If you starve yourself all day because you get busy with your job, family and gift shopping, you’re more prone to stuffing yourself at dinner with things that aren’t very healthful. Don’t fall into this eating trap because if you do the only thing you’ll feel is stuffed, bloated and regret.

Practice mindful moderation

To be honest, I believe eating in moderation can send you into an eating nightmare. During the holiday, eating in moderation can become more ‘frequent eating” with all the holiday events so one must be careful in deciding what to eat. Yes, there are certainly foods we only get to enjoy during this time of year like holiday cookies and cakes. But again, eating all of them isn’t going to do any good. So indulge mindfully and moderately. If you always look forward to your sister’s famous pecan pie, then focus on eating that when the time comes and say no to treats that aren’t as delicious like boxed cookies that you can get any time of the year.

Darling, forgive yourself

No one is perfect so if you find you caved into peer pressure at work and ate holiday treats you promised yourself you wouldn’t, forgive yourself and move on. The next moment is different and you can choose to stop eating the snacks and sip tea instead. Make the next thing you eat healthy and get moving on your exercise. But above all, keep your head up because that is the key to getting through the stress of the holiday season.

I personally love the holiday season…the crowded lines at the airport and shopping list that goes on forever. I find this time of the year to be magical and full of love. Yes, things don’t always go as planned but the way I handle the stress during the holidays is by chanting this a mantra in my head:

I got this

Or ask yourself this question:

What would love do?

I’ve given you many ways to help you handle the holiday stress but here’s the kicker: You create your own stress. I know, nobody wants to take responsibility for their own stress. It’s much easier to blame on a boss, family member or horrible customer service agent. Stress is not a real tangible thing. It’s your reaction to things. Our reaction can be stressful or calmer. You choose.

Let me know how you handle stressful moments by leaving a comment below.