“Tis the season to be jolly!” That’s what they say, right? The holiday season is upon us and with that usually comes the fun of holiday parties, shopping, family gatherings, traveling … oh, and don’t forget the elevated heart rate. All of the expectations and obligations of this time of year (not to mention year-end quotas) leave us feeling stressed out! All that built-up stress is nothing to ho, ho, ho about either – it increases your risk of illness. Studies suggest that holiday stress and overindulgence help explain the soaring rate of fatal heart attacks in December and January.
Here are a few tips to help you manage your holiday stress and survive the madness without feeling frantic:
- Take a break and regain your focus: Enjoy a cup of tea, take a hot bath, head outdoors for a brisk walk. Get out of the doing mode for a while and try something that puts your mind at ease.
- Control your expectations: Your stress level will taper off if you accept that your holiday may not be absolutely The turkey might be a tad overcooked, the ceiling decided to have a minor leak … whatever the surprise, it’s okay if your holiday doesn’t completely resemble those on the Hallmark channel.
- Practice generosity: Research shows that performing an altruistic act lights up the brain’s pleasure centers. This doesn’t need to involve a financial component either – it can be as simple and thoughtful as being fully present for a friend or helping serve dinner at a local soup kitchen.
- Set a budget: It’s inevitable, the holidays can be expensive. Create a budget for each person you buy gifts for and if you tend to overspend, try to purchase all of your gifts with cash.
- Don’t skip meals: Instead of skipping meals prior to the big feast, try keeping your regular meal routine. If you are not exceedingly hungry, you will be less likely to overeat.
- If you do overeat, don’t beat yourself up! Forgive yourself; it’s the holidays after all. It’ll feel good to get back into your exercise routine. If you didn’t have one, no better time than to start one!
- Express Gratitude. Telling others you care about them can alleviate life anxiety – this is called “positive psychology.” Give it a try!
- Have fun! Remember the holidays when you were a child? It was absolutely magical. Take delight in the little ones’ excitement. Singing, dancing and playing are a few of those childhood activities that you should practice today! Studies show that “play” is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social emotional development at all ages.
At Walsh Duffield, we hope this holiday season finds you safe and well. So take a deep breath, and enjoy the time you have with friends and family!