You're Not Alone
It's easy to get stressed out this time of year. Sure, you've got time off work to enjoy the season but that time is booked up before it's begun with shopping for the holidays, parties, family functions, work engagements and whatever else comes at you. It's understandable that you might find yourself stressed out but know that you are not alone.
There are many ways you can combat the stress of the season. We'll go over a few so you're armed and ready from Thanksgiving all the way to the New Year!
Fight Back so You can Relax
An obvious way to keep your spirits up, your body well and your health in check is always exercise. It may seem like a no brainer, but when we get stressed it's easy to cut something like our daily run out of the schedule. And doing that is exactly the opposite of what you should do. Physical activity does a few things we all know about like helping to keep our weight in check, but it also boosts our energy, moods and immune system. This is a happy time of year and you want to be healthy for it right? So get off your butt, stick to your routines and get moving for at least 30 minutes a day!
Shed a Little Light on the Situation
Get outside in the sunlight as much as you can during the season. The light not only wakes you up in the morning and helps you fall asleep faster at night (giving you more quality rest and preparing you to deal with any stress that comes your way), but it also helps people fight off winter depression.
In a time where the days are shorter and the nights are longer, it's important to squeeze some sunlight in when you can. If you aren't someone who can stand the cold, sit yourself up by a window or talk to your doctor about UV lamps as a means of helpful preventative treatment for seasonal stress and depression.
Spice it Up
Did you know that eating spicy food can curb your mood? Aside from the awesome kick it gives your meal, consider adding it to your diet to help kick your bad mood and stress. Spicy food releases serotonin into your body. You want this because it helps your body and brain fight off winter blues, depression, anxiety and panic. None of those are things you need.
If you aren't a fan of spicy food consider adding these great food items to your diet. Each have depression fighting benefits for different reasons, but any of them can help you if you add them to your diet. Turkey, low fat dairy and walnuts all help fight off depression when eaten in moderation. If you're a tea person go green. It's got theanine in it, which is an amino acid that offers relaxation and anti-stress benefits.
Yes or No?
Say no! Do it! You'll feel liberated. Part of the holiday stress and grind comes from us. We do it to ourselves when we over commit and promise to do too much. We make it impossible for ourselves to relax and enjoy the season because we're so busy running around. We also tend to want to over please our peers this time of year but when it comes to parties, planning and promises this year, learn to say no!
Consider splitting duties up for parties and gatherings among family or friends where you can. Mostly, if its a small task, we're all to happy to help! But those little tasks add up, so save yourself some time and energy by asking individuals for help.
You don't have to be a jerk about it or feel bad either. Simply say, I would love to do or handle X but I just don't think I can commit to that this year. Or say something like how much you are looking forward to X occasion but would so and so be willing to help with X. You don't have to a give a reason if you don't want too and you don't owe a make up favor later on either. It's your life and you should be enjoying it! And truth be told, when we pitch in to accomplish something together, we've all got a sense of satisfaction and appreciation that we wouldn't otherwise have, along with a sense of comradery from working together.
No I don't mean don't plan anything, don't send RSVP's, and ignore your invitations. I mean schedule time - block it off - to do nothing. Absolutely nothing, family time, reading a book or catching up on your TV shows - whatever that time is spent doing to help you unwind and relax - do it.
It's smart to say "Sorry I can't I've got something on the books" espically when we're being inundated with invitations and expectations on a constant basis. Scheduling this time ensures that you get to rest for at least the amount of time you have set aside to do it.
If you can get any of these tips and tricks into your life this season you should experience happy results. Some things will work better and faster for certain people than others, so try them all together or one at a time until you know what works.
But most important - have a happy healthy holiday season!