The holidays can be an exciting time filled with fun, family, and friends, but for many, it can also be stressful. Some common signs of stress include muscle tension, racing heart, trouble sleeping, headaches, irritation, and trouble concentrating. So what can you do if you’re feeling stressed during the holidays (or any other time of the year)? Here are some tips to keep your days merry and bright:
- Be Mindful: Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Sometimes we ignore our stress until it overwhelms us. Instead, notice when you’re feeling stressed and try to manage it earlier.
- Exercise: If you already have a physical fitness routine, stick to it, and if not, it’s never too late to start! Try going for walks or participating in other physical activities you enjoy (remember: always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine).
- Eat Smart: Try to eat a well-balanced diet and avoid skipping meals. Avoid using alcohol and/or other drugs to reduce your stress.
- Sleep: Try to maintain a consistent sleep routine. Try to avoid sleeping too much or too little.
- Relax: Practice deep-breathing and relaxation techniques to help manage your stress. Start by deeply inhaling for three seconds and then completely exhaling for three seconds. To relax your muscles, continue your deep breathing; then, start at the top of your head and work your way down to your toes, picturing the tension slowly leaving each section of your body. Repeat these steps until you feel less tense and more relaxed.
- Set Priorities and Plan Ahead: It’s impossible to do everything and be everywhere, so decide which obligations are the most important and plan for those. Set realistic expectations for what you can do and leave yourself ample time to accomplish tasks and meet your holiday goals.
- Seek Support: Sometimes talking about your feelings can help relieve some of the pressure and make things feel more manageable. Seek out a trusted friend or family member, or consult with a trained counselor (he or she may be able to help you figure out how best to manage your specific stressors).
- Have Fun: Make time for fun activities – participate in your favorite hobbies or get involved with local community groups.
- Take a Break: Take a time-out if you start to feel overwhelmed, and recharge by doing a different activity or taking a deep breath. Come back to the original task once you’ve had a moment to regroup.
Shelby Bohn is the Customer Experience Director at ImagineCare. She began her career in the field of psychology and earned an MA in Clinical Psychology in 2010. Prior to ImagineCare, she worked as a mental health counselor, and later in customer relations in the hospitality industry. Shelby is trying to take her own advice and set priorities this holiday season!