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Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be a very stressful time for many people. Holiday stress fuelled by busy schedules, parties, school and work events, shopping for gifts, and many other obligations can wreak havoc on your routine and sense of balance, leaving you tired, irritable, and overwhelmed.  Add to that the vague sense that you are supposed to be full of joy and cheer, and you may find yourself counting the days until January.

There are many ways to help manage and reduce the stress you experience, and some will work better for you than others.  However, none of them will work if you don’t actually do them!  Incorporating these tips into your already hectic day requires conscious effort, but the reward is making it through the holidays feeling happier, healthier, and ready for a new year.

1) Don’t Neglect Your Wellbeing

All of the things you usually do to take care of yourself throughout the year tend to take a backseat during the holiday rush.  Making time for what keeps you feeling good, if it’s massage, acupuncture, or regular adjustments with your chiropractor, can help you stay mentally and physically balanced and refreshed throughout the season

2) Be Present

The holidays are busy, and amidst the bustle it’s easy to lose sight of what makes them special.  It can be hard to stop your brain from worrying about upcoming decisions and planning for the next days events, but practicing mindfulness can be a valuable tool when you are feeling overwhelmed.  Focusing your attention on the present moment, good or bad, and simply acknowledging what is happening forces you to slow down, and can help you regain a sense of calmness.  It also allows you to appreciate and enjoy the present experience, without worrying about the past or future.  Even a few minutes a day can help shift your focus from day-to-day tasks that seem stressful and overwhelming to the aspects of the holidays that are truly meaningful to you.

3) Sleep

Getting enough sleep is critical for our health and well being but when we start to feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day sleep is often the first thing to suffer.  Most adults need 7-8 hours per night, and sacrificing sleep for even two or three nights can compromise your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to colds and other illnesses.  Lack of sleep also has a profound effect on mood and mental function, causing you to feel irritable, depressed, and less capable of solving problems.  Making sleep a priority will help your brain and body withstand the extra demands of the season.

4) Eat Well

The abundance of holiday goodies and dinner parties can make trying to eat well seem futile.  Like exercise, however, this is not an all-or-nothing scenario.  Overindulging in the dessert platter at an evening cocktail party won’t fully negate the healthful effects of the baked salmon you had at lunch so try to choose healthier foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins on a daily basis, and especially when cooking at home.  Resist the urge to write off December with plans to get back on the wagon in January.

5) Exercise

It can be hard to maintain your regular exercise routine when the holidays hit, but having to miss your favorite evening yoga class doesn’t make the day a bust.  Going for a walk at lunch or doing 15 minutes of gentle stretching before bed can help you relax and take a mental timeout, and help your body let go of any physical tension you’ve been holding on to.  Maintaining even small amounts of physical activity rather than quitting all together will also make it easier to get back into your routine after the holidays.

For more information please contact a practitioner at evolve Nurturing Vitality.

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