Let’s face it, you love the holidays and your time spent with the family, but this time of year can be very stressful! Between putting up decorations, braving the crowds at the mall to get holiday shopping done, planning and cooking holiday dinners, attending multiple holiday parties and traveling to your holiday destination – how do we find the time to do it all? It’s not unusual to be over tired and stressed out by the time New Year’s Day roles around. According to research from the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly half of all women in the U.S. experience more stress during the holidays.
While it’s natural to be stressed with so much going on, stress can take a toll on your health by causing insomnia and anxiety as well as weakening immune system. Nobody wants to be stressed out during the holidays, so its important to find ways to cope with stress and avoid getting burnt out. Here are five small things we suggest you try this year for a stress-free holiday:
- Take five-minute time out. If you find yourself in a stressful situation – your relatives are fighting or maybe you burnt Christmas dinner– go outside and take a five-minute breather to clear your head. Re-entering the situation with a clear mind will make a world of difference and help the problem blow over quicker. You’ll actually be able to resolve the problem and won’t let your emotions get the better of you.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Those late nights after holiday parties means you might not be getting as much sleep as you usually do. In addition, holiday stress can be causing you to lose sleep. According to the Better Sleep Council, approximately 65% of Americans are losing sleep due to stress. Sleep not only improves your mental health but also helps you stay physically healthy as well, so make sure you’re getting your 6-8 hours per night. When you can’t avoid a late night, make sure to make up for it the next day and go to bed early!
- Don’t miss your workout. Finding time to work out can be hard enough but during the holidays, forget about it! The truth is, getting exercise can do you a world of good and will help get your endorphins flowing – this is what improves your mood. Even if you can’t hit the gym for an hour, a 15-minute run first thing in the morning will do you wonders.
- Spend time with the furry family members. Anyone who owns a pet knows the unconditional love they show their owners on a daily basis. Pets are happy on a daily basis and make great companions, they can even help reduce stress levels! One study showed that during stressful situations or events, most people experience less stress when they are with their pets then if they are with friends or significant others.
- Pick up a magazine or book. Reading is a very relaxing activity and it’s been proven to help lower a person’s heart rate. According to an article from The Telegraph, reading can help reduce stress in as little as 6 minutes! Take some time to read a book to de-stress, or if you’re too busy running around, take a 10-minute break to read the newspaper or a magazine.
These may seem like small things but they can really make a big difference in a stressful situation. While we can all get caught up in the holidays and making sure everything is perfect, it’s always helpful to remember what really matters during this time of year – spending quality time with the ones you love.