Make self-care your newest seasonal tradition to keep your stress levels low and spirits high.
Just Say “No”
When it comes to gifts, guest lists and challenging family members, many of us have a hard time drawing the line. Protect your mental health by setting clear boundaries. Don’t have the head space (or counter space) for baking eight dozen Snickerdoodles? Consider skipping the cookie swap this year. If you come from a large family, a gift exchange or “Secret Santa” with spending limits will trim your budget as well as time spent shopping.
Invest in your peace this holiday season by carving out some me time. This doesn’t have to mean a fancy spa day. There are plenty of ways to destress if you’re short on money or time. Take some time out to sip on peppermint tea. Essential oils, like peppermint, can reduce anxiety and stress as well as improve sleep. Meditation apps, like Headspace, offer mindful activities specific to this taxing time of year.
Sweat It Out
Exercise produces endorphins—those natural, feel-good chemicals in your brain. Trade your jingle bells for kettlebells, take a yoga class, go for a jog, or blast some upbeat tunes for your own private dance party. Even the busiest people can find five minutes to get their blood pumping. Park in the furthest spot from the shops to squeeze in some speed walking while running holiday errands.
‘Tis the reason for the season. Studies have consistently shown that practicing gratitude increases happiness, decreases depression, promotes better sleep and improves heart health. Instead of a holiday wish list, try making a list of things you’re grateful for that you already have. Show gratitude to others with acts of kindness, or by simply taking the time to say, “thank you.” Start a gratitude journal by jotting down three things you’re grateful for every day, from your morning coffee to compassionate friends.
If you’re having trouble getting a handle on holiday stress and anxiety, reach out to your primary care physician for help.