7 Ways to Reduce Stress Over the Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner and while this time can be filled with fun activities, it can also be stressful and lead to overeating. It is important to find a balance between your health and enjoyment of the holiday season. This balance includes recognizing stress and taking action to reduce it!

1 – Make a To-Do List
Making a list of things you need to get done can help eliminate stress. Take a few moments in the beginning of the day to write down all of your tasks. Then, number your tasks in order of priority and focus your energy on your top 3-5 items.

2 – Stay Active
It may be difficult to find time to exercise during the holiday season; however, being active does not mean you need to go to the gym everyday. Find moments throughout your day where you can incorporate physical activity. Park further at the grocery store. Take the steps instead of the elevator or escalator. Walk somewhere instead of driving! Research shows that not only does exercise boost your energy levels, but it can elevate your mood too. 

3 – Take Time to De-stress
Between all of the holiday shopping, cooking, hosting and cleaning, our stress levels can reach new heights. High stress levels can lead to overeating, meal skipping and even a negative mental state. Take time each day to unwind and recharge. Even if you only have 5 minutes, you can: take a walk, listen to music, meditate, stretch, journal, or just sit in silence.

4 – Nourish Your Body with Healthy Foods
During the holidays it is easy to load up on refined-sugar foods with little nutritional value. These foods can spike your blood glucose (giving you energy) and then cause you to “crash,” which increase your stress levels. It is okay to have treats in moderation; however, make sure you are also incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains on a daily basis as well.

5 – Start your Day with Positive Thoughts
Often when we wake up in the morning, we begin to think of all of the things we need to accomplish in the day. Cue the stress! Before you get out of bed, take a few deep breaths and set your intentions for the day. If you start your day by waking up feeling stressed, it is hard to shake that feeling all day long.

6 – Reach Out
If you are feeling overwhelmed, lonely, or stressed over the holiday season, it is okay to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes just calling a friend or family member to vent can help reduce your stress levels. Volunteering and helping others is another great way to meet new people and lift your holiday spirits.

7 – Understand your Feelings
When we are busy and under a lot of stress, we may choose to ignore our feelings. However, this usually ends up backfiring and causing even more stress. It is important to acknowledge what you are feeling and why you may be feeling this way. Once you understand these feelings, come up with a plan on how you can minimize the amount of stress in your busy life.

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Your action goal for this week and the holiday season is to approach the holidays with a positive attitude. When you starting feeling stressed take time to understand why you are feeling this way and do something about it.

Comment below what strategy you plan on utilizing when you start feeling the stress of the holidays!

 

Guest Post Written by Cedar Crest Dietetic Intern Katie Padva
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