By: Darcy Hilton
If you’re anything like me, you may be feeling the boney fingers of holiday stress wrap around your neck right about now. Between fighting the crowds, keeping the money from flying out of your wallet, and praying to maintain your weight as you reach for another cookie, the holidays can be overwhelming! Don’t throw in the towel just yet though, there are positive ways to beat the stress and actually enjoy this holiday season.
Keep exercising! It’s easy to get busy with all the shopping, parties, and traveling, but keep exercise as a priority! When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins according to WebMD. Endorphins trigger positive feelings, reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost self-esteem. It’ll also help combat the extra calories we eat this time of year. Whether it’s a brisk walk, the treadmill, or yoga, just stay moving.
Laugh! This may seem like a no-brainer, but we tend to focus on the negative aspects of the season when we are feeling overwhelmed. Instead, watch a comedy, hang out with friends and family who make you feel good, have a Nerf gun fight, anything that’ll tickle your funny bone. Laughter is a lot like exercise in that it produces good endorphins. It can also boost your immune system, which we all need this time of year (Health.com).
Spend less. I know, sounds almost impossible at this time of year, but with some budgeting and planning, it is possible. The majority of stress comes from worrying about how to stretch the all mighty dollar. Christmas comes the same time every year, yet somehow it seems to sneak up on us. Planning for it in advance can reduce stress by half (my own estimate). Set money aside from each paycheck as a Christmas fund, pick up gifts throughout the year, or better yet, give the gift of time. Many of us have talents that we can share with our loved one that won’t cost a thing. Make a coupon book with free babysitting, a free hair cut, a foot massage, or two-hour maid services. Use your imagination and save some money in the process.
Think of others. The holidays aren’t always a joyful time for everyone. Many folks are missing loved ones who have passed away or just can’t be near for the holidays. Loneliness can creep in and lead to anxious and depressed feelings. When this happens, we tend to focus on ourselves and the negative feelings we are having instead of counting our blessings. Taking the focus off ourselves and putting it onto others can break that spell. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, buy gifts for a family down on their luck, or go caroling at a nursing home to spread cheer. Often times, we get caught up in the commercial aspect of the holidays and forget to focus on what really matters; loving others.
Hopefully, you can use some of these tips to ward off stress and let in the joy of the season!
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