We all know the holidays can be stressful. While the hustle and bustle of wrapping gifts, preparing meals, and traveling or welcoming guests is over, you could still be carrying around a lot of stress. Use these tips to relieve stress and prevent future stress.
When you are stressed it can be tempting to zone out in front of the TV or browse social media. However, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that while many people reported this activity as a method for relieving stress, only 29% claimed that it was effective. In contrast, 69% of people who used exercise for relieving stress reported it effective. Exercise is an excellent stress reducer. It also keeps your body more physically healthy, which in turn, relieves stress. When you are busy, don’t neglect exercise. Exercise will give you the mental and physical energy you need to accomplish all of your goals.
Take Time Out
Reserve some time for yourself. Carve out time to pursue a hobby, get outside, enjoy a massage or a facial or get coffee with friends. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy and healthy, make time for it. Don’t neglect yourself. When you are feeling well and cared for, you will excel at accomplishing work goals, family goals, and community goals without feeling bitter or tired.
Sleep is often overlooked, but when you are not sleeping you are not operating at 100%. Being too tired can impact your focus and productivity. You will accomplish tasks slower and possibly with more mistakes when you are not well rested, adding to your already overwhelming stress load. Prioritize your time so that you can get 6-8 hours of sleep at night. You may find your stress melting away as you feel more alert and productive during waking hours.
Stress eating is often a result of overworking, crunched time schedules, and a generally hectic life. You may have to turn to fast food to have time to eat, or sugary sweets in an attempt to have energy. Emotional stress causes many people to consume rich, comfort foods. Some stress eating is ok, but when it becomes a habit it can contribute to a raise in stress.
Choose healthy snacks as an alternative. Keep your desk or car stocked with apples or oranges instead of candy. Carrots offer a nice crunchy snack that can take the edge off your hunger. Tortilla chips and guacamole with give you fuel and brain power. Nuts that are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids satisfy a salty craving in a healthy way. Coffee and tea are great drinks to give you a caffeine boost, but skip the cream and sugar. When you establish healthy habits and eat foods that are good for your body, you will feel better instead of worse, which will help reduce stress.
Our intuitive methods for dealing with stress- hunkering down, watching TV, staying up late to get things done, and eating on the run- can all be major contributors to stress. Instead, get exercise, take time for an activity you love, and plan to eat well. You will begin to feel the stress lift off, and it will give you the freedom to enjoy being productive.