The holidays may be a time for celebration but they often come with an unwanted side effect: stress. To minimize stress this time of year, try these 11 tips to help you relax and better enjoy the holiday season.
Keep a gratitude journal
Take three minutes every morning or evening to write down three things you’re grateful for and at least one positive thing that happened that day. Try this for a week and I can guarantee you’ll have a more positive mindset.
Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals sets you up for fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can make the stress response even worse. Instead, aim to eat balanced meals every four to five hours to keep your blood sugar stable and your energy level up. Do yourself a favor and fill your freezer with a few of Luvo’s bowls, now available for home delivery.
Pick out a good book (something for work or school doesn’t count!) and sit down and read. Studies have found that even five to ten minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by almost 70 percent.
Spending just a few minutes per day meditating or practicing deep breathing can help you feel calmer and lower your stress response. Meditation is simple and can be done anywhere. Try downloading an app like Headspace or Calm and listen to a short guided meditation.
Get plenty of sleep
Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep causes cortisol levels to rise which can make you feel hungrier (and cause you to eat more) and can decrease your immune response, putting you at risk for illness.
Learn to say ‘No’
With holiday season in full swing, no doubt you’ll be invited to multiple parties, events and celebrations. Don’t feel like you need to say yes to all – prioritize which ones are the most important to you. If you’re saying yes because you feel like you not should, not because you actually want to attend, that is a good indication that you should RSVP no.
The hormones released during exercise and physical activity counter the negative effects of stress hormones, plus helps control your blood sugar levels helping your energy stay stable. You don’t have to hit the gym to see the benefits – even a brisk 10 minute walk can work wonders.
It’s important to make time for self-care, especially during the busy holiday season. Carve out some time to get your nails done, book a massage, or treat yourself to a spa-like evening at home with a face mask and a relaxing bath.
Listen to music
Music can have a relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, slowing down our pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing levels of stress hormones. When you’re starting to feel stressed or overwhelmed, turn on some of your favorite songs.
Get in touch with your inner artist.
Repetitive motions, such as knitting or coloring, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce stress in the body. Crafting is a great choice to ease stress, increase happiness and protect your brain from damage caused by ageing.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but strength. It’s not realistic to expect that you can do everything yourself, so reach out to your friends and family and ask for help when you need it.
How do you combat holiday stress? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and sign-up for Luvo’s newsletter for more nutritious recipes and exclusive giveaways.