Do you find the holidays leave you feeling frazzled, overwhelmed and exhausted? Although there is plenty to enjoy over the festive season, it also comes with a heaped serving of stress for many of us. If you’re looking to keep your stress down, these tips can help you to feel calm and in control.
Simple Stress Reduction Tips For The Festive Season
START WITH A NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST
Food is often overlooked when it comes to managing your stress levels. But if you kick off your day with a good serve of protein, fibre and nutrients, it can make a huge difference. A nutrient-dense breakfast means:
Balanced blood sugars (which help to boost energy & minimise stress and anxiety symptoms)
Fewer cravings throughout the day
Increased satiety & natural reduction of calorie intake over the day
So make sure that even if you have plans for later, you still start your day with a nourishing, filling meal.
SPEND TIME OUTDOORS
Have you ever noticed that you feel calmer when you’re surrounded by greenery or relaxing at the beach? Nature has an amazing impact on your mental health. In fact, research suggests that as little as 20 minutes out in nature can significantly reduce stress hormone levels.
Incorporate time outdoors into your plans. If the weather allows, have your family lunch or dinner out on the back porch. Even a short walk around the block first thing in the morning can set you up for a calmer, less stressful day.
INCLUDE SOME REGULAR MOVEMENT
Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to manage stress & anxiety (both in the short and long term). But as the holidays are a stressful time, you want to make sure that you don’t overdo it!
Why? Intense physical activity could add to the body’s stress burden, making you feel even more frazzled. That’s why I recommend gentle to moderate forms of exercise as the main focus of the season.
My favourite options include:
A walk around the block (bonus points if it’s with the family and/or the dog!)
Aim to move your body every day, even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes on your busier days.
SNEAK IN SOME MEDITATION
You’re probably short on time, but this is worth prioritising if you want to feel more relaxed over the holidays. Studies have found that mindfulness meditation can significantly reduce cortisol levels.
Try to use it as a stress prevention technique. For example, if you know you get overwhelmed at the annual family dinner, do a short meditation before the event. This will help you to be more mindful and feel in control of your emotions.
The good news? You don’t have to meditate for hours every day to reap the benefits – even a 5 minute guided meditation can do the trick.
FOCUS ON CONNECTION
Socialising is fantastic for relieving stress, so make the most of this time! Connecting with people, particularly our friends and family, triggers the release of chemicals that regulate stress and anxiety.
There are two things to note here:
This is about socialising with people that make you feel good. So no, small talk with a disliked relative is probably not the solution! Make sure you spend plenty of time with people who make you feel happy.
Quality is key. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and ditch the distractions for meaningful connection. Be truly present with your loved ones over this time.
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