Are the holidays a stressful time for you? Maybe being around all your relatives and the crowds feels overwhelming. You may feel even tenser knowing that this time of year is supposed to be joyous, yet all you feel is anxious. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to overcome your feelings of anxiety and truly enjoy this holiday season!
Step 1: Identify Your Stressors: The first step to truly enjoying your holiday season is identifying your stressors. Two top stressors are money and family!
It may come as no surprise that one of the top stress-inducers identified during the holiday season is worry over money. Since the beginning of November, you have been constantly bombarded with deals, steals and the newest gadgets. You might feel pressure to work overtime to be able to afford all the presents on your family’s wish list. However, it’s important that you take a step back and remind yourself what this time of the year is really about, togetherness. While your loved ones and friends do appreciate your thoughtful gifts, it’s really the thought that counts. Show them you love and appreciate them in other ways, they will cherish that for a lifetime.
Another stressor may be constantly being around your extended family. This time of year it seems that there are no shortage of family gatherings. Your weekends are probably jam-packed with holiday parties, leaving you very little time to do what you enjoy doing. While this time of year is all about being with family, you cannot forget to take care of yourself as well. Carve out time every weekend to do something that makes you feel fulfilled.
Step 2: Manage Stress without Food
Unfortunately, some people may turn to food to help deal with these holiday stressors. Do you?
If so, I’m here to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case! There are many other ways to help you manage your stress without turning to food.
Move Your Body:
Choose a movement that you enjoy doing and find time to do it at least three times a week. Regular movement has been shown to reduce stress levels. If you fall short on time and you cannot make it to that spin or kickboxing class, try going for a walk around your neighborhood or do a yoga video at home.
Connect and Talk:
Talk to a family member or friend that you trust. If you are feeling overwhelmed, a good venting session can actually make you feel better. Just talking through your feelings can provide relief.
Sleep it Off:
Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. You are probably running on empty more frequently this month than you do the rest of the year. Sleep is important for your health, try to go to bed an hour earlier and avoid hitting snooze in the morning. Interrupting your sleep with multiple alarms can interfere with your body’s natural wake mechanisms, leaving you feeling exhausted throughout the day.
Breathe through It:
When you feel a stressful moment coming on, excuse yourself and take a few minutes to relax and breathe. Search the internet or download an app to your phone that will guide you through stress-reducing breathing techniques. Meditation is also a useful relaxation technique that you can do anywhere!
If even after engaging in a stress-reducing exercise or talking with a friend, you still feel that you want the soothing power of food, that’s okay! Put your desired food choice on a plate and sit down to eat it. Stay fully aware and conscious as you are eating. Savor each bite, stay mindful and present with the food, and your feelings. Once you’ve finished, take a deep breath and move on. The key here is to not move out of your body when you are eating so this doesn’t become a full-on binge.
Want more strategies to manage stress and holiday overwhelm? Check out my December Holiday Special for my Stress Less Eat Less Program. Click HERE and give the gift of a calm mind to yourself this holiday season. (Note: the strategies you will learn in this program will help you throughout the year). Offer expires December 31, 2018.