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!