Friday, December 8, 2017

'Tis the Season to be Stressful

by Joni Modaff, Office Coordinator
The month of December brings cold temperatures, crowded shopping malls and much anticipation for the holidays. We tend to put ourselves on the back burner in order to find the right gift or fruitcake to buy, and we frantically try to make sure we make it to every event, even our third cousin's best friend's party.

With all this hustle and bustle, our bodies can react to stress in ways that can be overwhelming and unhealthy. Since our expectations for ourselves run high during this time, it's important to prioritize what we really need to accomplish.

The following stress prevention tips can bring some relief during the most wonderful time of the year:

Exercise: Work out at least 20 minutes a day. Not only can it help burn off some of the delicious treats the season brings, it can boost mood and energy level.

Hydrate: Drink an average of 8 glasses of water a day. Minimize alcohol intake, especially during holiday parties - while it may be tempting to indulge in holiday cheer during parties, your body will thank you for your moderation later.

Nap: Listen to your body when it tell you to rest. Sleep helps your body to rejuvenate both physically and emotionally.

Volunteer: Give your time and energy to a charity, or help out someone you know who needs an extra hand.

Reach Out: Write a letter to a family member or friend that you haven't talked to or seen in a while. Connecting with people we care about can give us peace.

Think Positively: Remaining optimistic can help keep your blood pressure in check.

Laugh: Lots of laughter can reduce stress hormones, so laugh long and loud!

Less is more, a colleague once told me. Enjoy the now and what the season is about: being with family and friends. Overbooking ourselves with holiday parties can cause us to lose that focus - according to psychologist George Pratt, PhD, it's important to "take care of yourself by saying no at least once - and maybe more."

Holiday stress may be inevitable, but incorporating the tips above will be a nice holiday gift to yourself!

References: 
Cleveland Clinic, Managing Holiday Stress 5/23/17
25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress, Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen 11/1/16

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