We are not even half-way through December and for most of us, stress is pretty high already. Unfortunately, as we all know, it won’t get better until the end of the year! The holiday season is a very stressful time, there is no question about it. It’s not all bad of course, there is also a lot of excitement and joy, but still, it can be a tough time, emotionally, financially, and professionally. And through all of this, our body is negatively affected.
3 Tips to reduce stress easily
In this article, I wanted to give you more than just my own advice and perspective. So, I invited 3 Health and Wellness Professionals to join me and share with you their favorite strategy to keep stress at bay during the holidays. I trust them all and have a lot of respect for their wisdom and for the true interest they have in helping others live a healthier and happier life. Watch them in the 3 short videos below. I hope that their tips will make your holidays less stressful!
Stress-Reduction Tip #1
It is true that too often, self care falls toward the bottom of our priority list when life gets busier. A great way to ensure you will make time for yourself is to pencil it in your calendar. Make sure you are generous and allocate a little more than what you truly hope for. As Elise Kloter, Licensed Massage Professional at Lotus Massage in West Seattle, mentions, it can take any form: a walk, a bath, a massage, or maybe just reading a good book. Don’t be fooled, though. If we don’t intentionally plan for downtime, it most likely won’t happen on it’s own. So go ahead, mark your calendars! Even if you cannot hold all these appointments with yourself, you will have to make a conscious decision to cancel and that will at least give you an opportunity to think about it.
Stress-Reduction Tip #2
Breathing is key and what I love about the stress-relief strategy shared by Dr. Hill, Chiropractor at New Balance Chiropractic in White Center, is that we can do it anytime, anywhere, and as often as we want. The only obstacle is that we don’t always think about it! To get started, I suggest that you set an alarm on your phone. Maybe 3 times a day to start with. Soon enough, you will think about it in-between 2 sets of alarms, and after a while, this stress-relief strategy will come to mind very often during your day. It is easy, it doesn’t take much time, and it is 100% free!
Just try it for a few days, what do you have to lose?
Stress-Reduction Tip #3
Too many of us find it hard to exercise during the year, let alone during the Holiday Season! Yet, when stress is high and food and alcohol intakes get a bit crazy, moving our body becomes even more important. As Jody Dexter, Physical Therapist at Dexter Physical Therapy in West Seattle, explains, physical activity promotes the production of endorphins, the so-called “feel-good hormone” for our brain.
You don’t have to stress out because you can’t go to the gym or can’t run your usual route, though! Stretching for a few minutes here and there, taking the stairs rather than the escalators/elevator, going for a hike or having a snowball fight… Try to find several ways to move your body and try to spend time outside every day. Why not park as far as from the stores as possible? Or go for a night walk to admire Christmas lights with the kids? There are many ways we can add movement and fresh air into our days, but it won’t happen unless we are very intentional about it.
Bonus Tips for Stress Reduction
It has to do with growling. Keep reading, you'll be surprised!
You know that feeling when you fall behind on your to-do-list? You do your best to handle everything, but as soon as you start catching up, someone adds extra requests, more shopping to do, more files to look at, more cakes to bake, more, more, more. It very quickly becomes overwhelming and extremely stressful, right?
If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens to our body when we overindulge on food and drinks, and graze all day long on treats and sweet beverages. Our digestive system can’t keep up any more, there is no more time for a break. It becomes hard to process all the food and eliminate all the toxins.
It is extremely stressful for our body in general and for our guts in particular.
So my Bonus Tip to you, over this holiday season, would be to give your stomach a chance to start rumbling a little at least once a day before you jump on a snack. It is perfectly normal to feel physically hungry before a meal, but too often, we don’t even get a chance to experience that feeling at all. This might not bring your stress level down, but it will reduce the stress on your digestive system and if you allow your stomach to feel empty before you refill, chances are, you won’t pile up extra pounds over the holidays. And THAT will save you a lot of stress in the New Year!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that you skip meals or that you starve yourself. Just wait until whatever you have eaten has been digested before you eat again or drink some sweet or a caffeinated beverage. Try it! Unless of course you have a condition that would make this undesirable for your health. See how it feels to listen to the cues your body is giving you. It might also help you differentiate between hunger and cravings.
I hope you enjoy the season!
If sleep has been an issue for you and is adding up to your stress level, check out my book SLEEP IT OFF: A Revolutionary Guide to Losing Weight, Beating Diabetes, and Feeling Your Best Through Optimal Rest.
And if you want help taking extra good care of yourself in 2021, get in touch with the dedicated and experienced Health & Wellness Professionals below. I work with them regularly and never hesitate to reach out to them when I need support myself! Happy Holidays you all!