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Holiday de-stress tips

Tips for taking the tension out of holiday celebrations.

December 6, 2017

With the holiday season just around the corner, it is easy to get caught up with all the last-minute details and obligations. We often try to do too much, for too many people, and with too little time. The list below contains five recommendations for de-stressing around the holidays:

  1. Remember you can always say “no.” Often, we go overboard with trying to make our holidays bright through shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every holiday party. Instead of overscheduling these precious vacation days, remember to put yourself on the list of things to take care of, and say “no,” at least once when there’s more on your plate than you can manage.

  2. Improve your mood with a walk outdoors. Don’t put your exercise routine on the back burner during this busy season. Keeping active, (especially outdoors where you have access to sunlight) has been proven to boost those feel-good hormones in our brains, and relieve stress and anxiety, not to mention keeping those holiday pounds at bay. Aim for a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes every day.

  3. Create new traditions. The holidays may also be a reminder of losses that can stir up sad feelings. Perhaps starting new traditions or spending time with different people can be a healthy way to cope with feelings of sadness and loneliness during this time of year. For example, try experimenting with a different culture’s customs, and invite colleagues, friends, and family to join in.

  4. Volunteer to help others. Volunteering at a local organization, such as an animal shelter, or soup kitchen, can help relieve stress, and remind you that the best gifts are often not material ones, but those that give back to others in need.

  5. Think Positive. The stress of the holidays, and the pressure to “be on” with so much company around, can become overwhelming. Negative thinking can trigger your body’s stress response, similar to how a real threat does. Remember to focus on the positives of celebrating this season, and you will be better equipped to cope with any challenges that come your way.

Brought to you by MSMU Counseling & Psychological Services.

Sources:

De-stress the holidays. Healthy Women. Retrieved from http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/de-stress-holidays

Kleiman, K. (2015). 10 Holiday de-stress tips. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/isnt-what-i-expected/201511/10-holiday-de-stress-tips

Pawlik-Kienlen, L. (2016). 25 Ways to fight holiday stress. Health. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306655,00.html#holiday-stress-busting-tips