5 Tips to Combat Holiday Stress

02The holiday season is the most magical time of the year.  Chances are your holiday to-do list will include some, if not all, of the following:  buying or assembling a holiday tree, decorating the house and tree, compiling a gift list, buying and wrapping gifts, planning holiday menus, writing holiday cards, attending office parties, planning family get-togethers, booking travel plans, etc.  In addition to these, you have a daily schedule of activities and obligations to fulfill.  With so much on your plate, it is no surprise you may be feeling overwhelmed and strapped for energy.  As you head into one of the most hectic seasons of the year, the stress is not likely to let up anytime soon.Fortunately, there are many proven ways to boost your energy levels and help improve your outlook on life.  Here are the top five:

  1. EAT A GOOD DIET Research suggests that restructuring your diet can alter your metabolism and brain chemistry, which ultimately affects your energy level and mood.  The best foods to eat for sustained energy are wholesome whole foods that are unrefined, minimally processed, and high in protein and fiber.  The next time you feel your energy waning, instead of relying on quick fix energy boosters such as sugary foods, energy bars, and caffeinated drinks, try reaching for a snack that contains some protein and fiber.  This will help stop the energy drain and ward off temptations for snacks that are high in fat content.
  2. EXERCISE The results of many studies show that regular exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue.  Adequate exercise gets the blood flowing and makes your body feel revved up.  When the holiday stress reaches its peak, squeeze 15 minutes into your schedule and take a brisk walk or jog to clear your mind and restore your inner calm.
  3. PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING Deep breathing exercises offer one of the best ways to lower stress in the body, reduce tension, and help you relax.  Breathing exercises can be done wherever and whenever you want and do not require any equipment.
  4. MINIMIZE STRESS A packed schedule overflowing with daily must-dos creates high levels of stress and negative health consequences.  To reduce this to a more manageable level, start by getting rid of as much stress as possible.  Trim down unnecessary tasks and activities from your schedule and replace these with activities that help you relax.  Yoga, meditation, laughter, a relaxing bath, massage, quiet prayer, hobbies, and listening to music are all techniques that you can use to help reduce stress and calm your mind.
  5. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP The holiday season brings on its own brand of strain and tension.  The need to have to do it all and to do everything perfectly can overload your system with stress and distraction, and cut into your normal routines.  To maintain sanity, establish an as-close-to-normal sleep schedule as possible.  This means cutting back on nighttime activities and getting to bed around the same time each night.  Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.  On days when your energy lags, sneaking in a power nap never hurts.

By recognizing your own needs and limitations and taking time to care for yourself, you will be better able to enjoy the holiday season with extra energy to spare!

Image Credit:  Sharon Grimshaw