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10 Tips For Reducing Stress During The Holidays

I love the holiday season, but I know that stress can be a major part of it. It seems that you once you eliminate one source of holiday stress another appears. Fortunately there are ways to deal with stress in a healthy way.

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For many midlife women, things have changed. When you were younger the biggest source of stress might’ve been how to deal with the finances, or maybe how to deal with the in laws. Now the stress may be caused by how to deal with a family that is all over the place, or how to be the in laws.

Whatever the source of your stress, it is probably not something you want to be dealing with. If you are menopausal you may already be suffering from anxiety, lack of sleep or low energy. Fortunately there are healthy ways to deal with stress.

Postpone the diet

Yes, really! If you are dealing with enough stress already, you don’t need to add the stress of a diet to it. You don’t need to worry about the cookie you just ate, or that your Aunt Betty won’t have anything Keto friendly for dinner. Stress can make it hard to lose weight anyway, so your diet might not really be helping.

But, limit sugar intake

The odd cookie is fine, but listen to how you feel when you eat sugary foods. For some people sugar can contribute to feelings of stress. While eating sugar can temporarily make you feel less stressed, longer term it has the opposite effect. Sugar raises your blood sugar. Your body produces the stress hormone cortisol in response to that and you feel stressed.

And go easy on the alcohol

Alcohol can help you to relax, but it may not have the effect you are looking for. Alcohol, similar to sugar, can increase cortisol levels, causes stress and stress related illnesses. Alcohol is also a depressant so it can cause feelings of depression which go along with anxiety sometimes.

I’m not saying to not enjoy yourself over the holidays and raise a glass with friends, but keep in mind that too much alcohol can have the opposite effect you are looking for.

Take a breather

If you are feeling overwhelmed even a few minutes of meditation, or breathing exercises can make you feel better. Meditation has been shown to help reduce anxiety. You can simply watch your breath for a few minutes, or do a quick body scan. This can help you become aware of where you are experiencing stress in your body.

A simple breathing exercise can also reduce feelings of stress. Take a deep breath in, then release it slowly. Repeat this a few times and you will likely feel better.

Lower expectations

Part of the stress of the holiday season comes from high expectations. You might have dreams of a Christmas dinner hat is perfect, a house that is beautifully decorated and completely clean and a family that wants to spend time together doing Christmassy things and getting along. But be realistic. Something is likely to go wrong and you can still have a wonderful time even if things are not completely perfect. It can help everyone feel more relaxed if expectations are lower.

Get some exercise

Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are stressed out, but it has been proven to reduce stress and the effects of stress on your body. If you have a little bit of extra time, a walk outside can do wonders for your mood.

Practice self compassion

Self compassion is not the same as self pity or self indulgence. It is simply having compassion for yourself, as you would for someone else.You may be spending a lot of time thinking of others during the holidays, but it is good to take time to think of yourself once in a while. Try not to be judgemental, or overly critical.

Learn to say no

During the holiday season, there can be many demands placed on you. If you feel you are not up to something, then feel free to say no. Try to anticipate the social commitments, volunteer commitments and work commitments you will have during this time. Are there any that you can back out of? Are there any you are really dreading?

Plan down time

If you find this time of year to be overwhelming, then plan some down time. If you are an introvert all the socializing can be extremely draining and you might need to plan some alone time to help you recharge.

Find a good book to read, spend some time meditating, watch a movie or go for a quiet walk.

Enjoy the holidays this year. If you decide you want to start forming a  healthier lifestyle after the holidays, then join the free 5 day healthy habit challenge.

References: 

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/can-sugar-make-you-stress_b_6135046

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-link-between-stress-and-alcohol-67239

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858

https://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/

 

Reduce Holiday Stress pin min