The holidays are a cheerful time of the year to spend with family, friends, and loved ones. Unfortunately, though, this can also become a time of high stress. Whether it is overspending, overeating, overworking, or taking in more family members than the number of beds in your home, some people perceive the holidays as a happy yet stressful time of the year.
In order to enjoy the holidays and time with loved ones to their greatest potential, it’s important to put your keep your mental health in check. This will ensure that you avoid getting sick, fatigued, and most of all that you have a good time!
The following are a few ways to help fight holiday stress:
- Exercise: it may sound counterproductive, but putting your body under physical stress can actually help you cope with mental stress. Whether it’s dancing, running, walking, or yoga, physical activity releases endorphins that will help improve your mental state.
- Be Mindful: tuning in with your thoughts and your emotions through meditation and breathing exercises can help you cope with stress by releasing tension and lowering blood pressure, so try to stay in the present rather than worrying or stressing over things beyond your control.
- Eat Right: making poor food and drink choices around this time of the year can have negative impacts on your mood and lead to unwanted weight gain. Try to avoid processed food, sugary drinks, and caffeine. Opt for mood-boosting foods instead such as fresh fruit and vegetable juices and homemade meals whenever possible.
- Relax: even a few minutes of decompressing is better than nothing. Light a holiday candle, take a warm bath or shower, and practice muscle tension-reducing activities such as stretching, foam rolling, or using a lacrosse ball against the wall to relieve knots around different areas of your body.
- Laugh: being around funny friends, family, co-workers, or watching a funny show can help you stay positive by reducing anxiety and tension.
- Socialize: studies show those who have strong ties to a close group of friends are generally happier individuals, so maintain good relationships and enjoy the mental benefits that come with good friends.
- Cuddle: kissing and cuddling with your significant other or your pet has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. With the weather cooling down around the holidays, it’s the perfect time to get together and snuggle up!
- Avoid Procrastination: avoid leaving tasks for last minute. Planning and budgeting for holiday parties, dinners, and gift shopping ahead of time will save you hassle, stress, and frustration later on.
- Practice Positive Thinking: setting daily goals and repeating affirmations to yourself can all make a huge impact on your perspective and your relationships with yourself and others. Make it a habit to practice positive thinking, even in negative situations, in order to help yourself deal with stress in a healthier way.
- Be Grateful: be grateful for the good things in your life, although the holiday season can be a high-stress time of the year there are still plenty of reasons for you to give thanks.
Whether you only choose to apply one of the tips above or a combination of a few, implementing these coping mechanisms will help you fight stress this holiday season and beyond and in keeping your mental wellbeing in check.