The holidays are supposed to be merry and bright, but they can be unnecessarily stressful—causing anxiety. Get a jump-start on your holiday cheer and see it last the whole season through with these six tips to keep your stress levels low and your holiday happiness high!
1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily
Never underestimate the power of exercise. Make time each day for a little calorie-burning session. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout, just something to get your heart rate up to get the endorphins going. This time of year offers a lot of unique ways to burn calories. Take a break from the gym and try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or sledding.
2. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are stimulants which may increase your heart rate and cause anxiety. Instead of alcohol, drink water, or natural fruit juice. Sodas are not a good alternative to alcohol because sugar also has many adverse effects on the body, which can become worse when stressed.
3. Do your shopping early, or online. Or better yet – at small businesses.
If you are the door-buster type, waking up early on Black Friday to get the deals can be quite the rush. It can also be a huge nightmare causing undue stress and anxiety. You can usually find deals that are just as good, but without the crowds, before Thanksgiving and after Christmas. Shopping online can be much less stressful—you don’t even have to get dressed or fight for a parking spot! Shopping at local businesses is also great because they are usually less busy, have unique items, and more of your money will stay in the community.
4. Get enough sleep
Getting adequate sleep helps with digestion, clarity of mind, immunity and morale. Sleeping-in because you went to bed late doesn’t produce the most quality sleep. Getting to bed earlier and waking up earlier gives the body more restful sleep and allows for a more productive morning, giving you time to get things done so you are less stressed throughout the day.
5. Eat regularly
If you feel like the world is crashing down around you and you are about to just toss in the towel and cancel Christmas—ask yourself, “ When was the last time I ate?” Hanger is a very real ailment that gets the best of us when we allow our blood sugar to drop from not eating regularly. It’s best to avoid this in others as well, so make sure you have snacks on hand, especially if you decide to brave the crowds on Black Friday.
6. Learn to say ‘No’
The holidays are a time when people want to be around the ones they love. Between family members, friends and neighbors, the number of invites to gatherings can become overwhelming. Learn to say ‘no’ to avoid over-committing and you will save yourself from being spread too thin. Also, keep an eye on your budget. Over-spending in December makes for a depressing January when the bills show up. Say ‘no’ to buying things you don’t need.