Dr. Jim’s Holiday Stress Tips
All of those classic holiday movies surrounding the “dysfunctional family” make us laugh because deep down we can often relate to the chaos that this season brings.
Here are a few tips to help you reduce your holiday stress this season:
Just Say “No”
It’s the easiest trick in the book. All of those little commitments will add up. You don’t have to do it all, so don’t! Rehearse some polite phrases to decline invitations this season (such as “Thank you, but I am unable to attend”), or take a smaller role. Commit only to the events that are less stressful and that you enjoy the most!
Laughter releases the “happy” endorphins in your brain and is an effective way to reduce stress immediately.
Take some time before you get too far into the season to assess and prioritize your responsibilities. Make sure you continue to reassess regularly and stick to your goals.
Make sure you are prepared, yet be realistic about last minute changes. They will happen.
Santa does! Have your family help with cleaning. Have a potluck meal where the whole family pitches in. There are lots of ways to share the tasks at hand.
Limit the Treats
When you get stressed you will likely crave sugar; but the more cookies you have in your system, the more stressed you get! When you are stressed and have low levels of serotonin, your brain produces cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates, which make the beta-endorphin system want more. You’ll get stuck in a never-ending cycle!
Sleep is the body’s natural repair time. Depriving yourself of adequate sleep not only increases your cortisol (the stress hormone), but you won’t be at your best if you are sleepy and possibly grouchy.
Emergency Stress Relievers
- Exercise. This helps your body clear damaging stress hormones from your system. Any type of exercise will help. Run in place, take a brisk walk outside, or start up a game of flag football if the whole crew is on the verge of mutiny.
- Take a time-out. Take a hot shower or hot bath. Let everyone else do the chores for a bit…just like you are not home.
- Take a moment for some quiet meditation or prayer. Breathe. Stop, sit down, close your eyes and take several slow, long, deep breaths in through your nose, exhaling slowly, and feel the stress flow out of you.
- Take a power nap. You’ll be amazed at what a quick 15 minute nap can do!
For more tips from Dr. Jim visit the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.