While it may seem that there are more reasons to be stressed this holiday season, many of us are just looking at things differently. We may have the same chores and tasks as usual, but our perspective is skewed because we’re so focused on what others expect from us during these busy weeks.
The truth is that even though there’s always something to worry about or freak out about when everything feels like a whirlwind of chaos around us, our emotional state has a huge impact on how we feel physically. And if you’re dealing with any kind of chronic pain or illness, this time of year can really exacerbate those feelings.
That said: who doesn’t love eating good food and spending time with their loved ones? If you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, the holidays can be an opportunity to treat yourself well. With this in mind, here are seven ways to de-stress your life during the holidays:
Make a list of things that are stressing you out and come up with solutions
Make a list of all the things stressing you out this holiday season, whether it’s work, family drama, or anything else. It may seem daunting to tackle everything at once, but breaking your worries down into manageable pieces can be really helpful for coming up with solutions.
For example, you might have so much on your plate or mind that it overwhelms you and makes you feel anxious. But if you break things down further, what are some specific tasks? What thoughts are keeping tensions high? When is stress happening most often? How does stress manifest itself physically in the body? What has helped alleviate stress before? After answering these questions, you’ll have a better idea of how to find relief this holiday season.
Stick to a routine as much as possible
It can feel overwhelming when everything is new and different around the holidays, but sticking to a routine can help keep us grounded.
Doing things like staying active in the morning, meditating at night, or having specific meals at certain times of day can help prevent feelings of overwhelm when there’s so much going on around us. Abiding by these routines—no matter how small—will give our bodies and brains something familiar to cling to in an otherwise chaotic time.
Take breaks often
When we’re constantly on the go, it’s hard to find time for ourselves. But taking regular breaks—even if it’s just 10 minutes every few hours—can do wonders for our well-being. During these breaks, try doing something calming like reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature. This will help us refresh and rejuvenate to continue with our day.
Make time for exercise and relaxation each day
One way to de-stress this holiday season is by making sure you’re giving your body the attention it needs. Take some time for exercise and relaxation each day with a short walk, a spa night, or a visit to an osteopath clinic. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help improve our mood, and relaxation can help us calm down and de-stress. Remember that physical stress relievers can help alleviate much of the emotional stress we experience this time of year.
If you’re not sure how to fit in time for both exercise and relaxation each day, try scheduling them both in for the same time each day. This will help make sure that you make time for both, and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do one or the other.
Talk openly about how you’re feeling
It’s often difficult to talk about our feelings, especially during the holiday season when things are supposed to be cheerful and happy. But bottling up our emotions can actually lead to more stress.
Talking openly about how we’re feeling—both positive and negative—can help us process them better and may even provide relief. And chances are, others may be feeling the same way, so it can be helpful to connect with them on that level.
We’re often faced with obligations and requests during the holiday season, but it’s important to remember that we don’t always have to say yes. If something is stressing us out, or we just don’t have the time or energy for it, politely declining is okay. In fact, it can be beneficial for our mental health.
Spend time with loved ones who make you feel good
Spending time with loved ones is one of the best ways to de-stress this holiday season. When we’re surrounded by those we care about, it’s hard to feel overwhelmed or stressed. In fact, spending time with loved ones can actually have several positive benefits. Studies have shown that spending time with loved ones can improve our mood, increase our sense of happiness and reduce stress levels.
So if you’re feeling frazzled this holiday season, try scheduling some time to spend with your loved ones. They’re sure to make you feel better!
Volunteer for a good cause
Helping others is a great way to make ourselves feel good, and what better time to do it than during the holidays? Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people, so you can feel better about yourself while also making a difference in your community.
There are likely several organizations in your area that could use your help, so take some time to find one that’s the best fit for you. You may even want to start a new tradition by volunteering together with friends or family this year.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but managing it can make us healthier and happier. The key to living a less-stressed life during the holidays starts with recognizing our stress triggers—both emotional and physical—so we know what needs addressing. But there are also some things that you can do for yourself each day to help de-stress your mind and body: take breaks when needed; schedule in time for exercise and relaxation every day; spend quality time with loved ones who bring joy into your life; volunteer somewhere locally or find a new tradition this year.