How To Manage Stress Throughout The Holidays
In an idyllic, movie-version of the holidays, everything seems festive, cozy, joyful, and fun. But in reality, the holidays can instead feel busy, overwhelming, pressure-filled, and tiring. The cultural and family pressure of gifts, parties, activities, and traditions can leave us depleted and ready to throw in the towel on the whole season.
Since we can’t really change the whole culture, what can we do in our lives and bodies to come through the holiday season less drained? Let’s look at 5 important ways we can cope with the stress of the holidays this year.
Set realistic expectations
Do you already feel busy during the rest of the year? If you do, there is no reason to believe you can heap on loads of holiday activities and not find it to be too much. Be selective about what you say yes to this season and consider what regularly scheduled things can take a back burner until the new year to make room for holiday celebrations.
Move your body
Sure, the cold weather and dark skies don’t always inspire us to head out for a run, but consider ways you can keep your body moving every day over the coming weeks. Show up at the gym, dust off your treadmill, or roll out your yoga mat to get the endorphins flowing and flush out the stress hormones that accumulate throughout the day. Bonus points if you do get outside for a brisk walk when the sun is shining, for an added emotional lift!
Nature reminds us with the ever-decreasing amounts of daylight, that winter is a time for more rest, not less. Make sure you get plenty of z’s to help your body recover from the stress of a busy season. Put your phone down and go to bed.
Take deep belly breaths
Slow, deep, abdominal breathing is known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system triggers the “rest and digest” part of our brain, telling us we are safe and that it’s time to be calm and relax. When you feel your heart racing or stress accumulating, take a few minutes to nurture your body and turn on the calm side of your nervous system.
Add in adaptogens
Herbs such as ashwagandha, rhodiola, and siberian ginseng help your body manage cortisol levels. Any of these on their own, or together in stress-relieving blends can be a great support to your body at this, or any time of year.
Be mindful of how you care for yourself this holiday season so you can soak up the beauty of family, friends, and all the wonderful traditions and activities that connect us.