The holidays are supposed to be a magical time…a time for friends, family, good food, laughter.
I always sit and stare at my elaborate Christmas Village (yes I have one) and wish I was living there…on the fluffy snow, with the warm glow of a fire behind leaded glass windows, dressed in holiday clothes singing carols. I feel like I belong in a different century! 🙂
Sadly, what generally happens these days, is we all get overscheduled, overextended financially, overfed on holiday cookies and egg nog and overtired of family and friends.
We stress about getting our house decorated, baking the cookies, wrapping the gifts. We stress and stress and stress and then before you know it, the holidays are over.
How many people do you know that when you ask ‘How are you doing?' during the holiday season reply with a grimace, ‘Ugh, I am so stressed out!.'
Yikes! That's not right!
While we may not all be enjoying some perfect Christmas out of a Norman Rockwell painting, you can handle the stress and enjoy the holidays! You just need some tricks and tips on how to handle holiday stress!
Here are 12 Tips to Handle Your Holiday Stress
1. Eat Clean, Nourishing Foods.
This is true throughout the year, not just the holidays. Don't forget to eat your vegetables, your pastured meats and your healthy fats. Don't miss out on bone broth and fermented foods to help your gut and your digestion. Give your body the nutrients it needs to function at its highest level and ward off stress!
Don't forget to sleep! Your body needs sleep. This is when your body recharges and refreshes itself. Without adequate sleep, your body will not be able to recover from stress. Lack of sleep can also lead to sugar cravings and weight gain….so get some shut eye! Have trouble with sleep? Check out The Sleep Solution from our friend, Emily Benfit.
Get out there and get moving! Exercise has been shown to help reduce stress by increasing your endorphins (your feel good neurotransmitters) and helps you forget about the worries of the day. It can improve your move, help you sleep better and make you feel healthy all around. Some forms of exercise, however, can be stressful to the body. Long duration, steady state exercise (i.e. running, elliptical, etc.) can cause more stress on the body. Try to some high intensity, short term exercise instead. Or a brisk walk where you alternate fast walking and slow walking.
Most Americans are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is a mineral that we need and can help your body handle stress. I have three favorite ways of getting magnesium. One is to take an magnesium bath. The second is to use a magnesium powder as a tea. The third is to use a magnesium oil spray. My whole family takes daily doses of magnesium, to help us maintain optimal wellness, sleep well and deal with stressful situations. Try it and see if it helps you!
Maca is a root grown in the Andes Mountains. It is an adaptogen, meaning it supports the adrenal glands and helps the body deal with stress. It also supports the endocrine (hormone) system and is a great energy booster. It is is usually sold in powdered form. It is great in smoothies and can also be added to many desserts, beverages and yogurt. I particularly think it pairs nicely with chocolate flavored things.
Try this technique I learned in my health coaching program. Inhale for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 7. Exhale for a count of 8. Repeat the cycle 4 times. Instant stress relief!
Do you meditate? Do you zone out once in awhile and go to a calm place? I will admit that I have a very hard time sitting still for meditation. However, there are numerous ways to get it done. You can try yoga for a nice meditation and exercise combo. There are also plenty of apps and websites to help you. One of my favorite apps right now is the CALM app. Check it out and see if that helps you meditate at all!
8. Just Say No!
You do not need to say yes to every single thing that comes up at the holidays. You can say no. Don't feel bad. Don't feel selfish. Saying no to things you really don't want to do is one of the most freeing changes you can make! I started doing this in 2015 as part of my New Year's Resolutions and man does it feel good. Say no! Take care of yourself. Spend time with your family!
Think of all of the things you love and how they make you feel. Create a Gratitude Journal and make a list before bed each night. Gratitude can do wonders for your mind and your body!
10. Stay Hydrated.
Feeling stressed? Have a nice big glass of water (purified water, of course). According to WebMD, even one glass of water can help decrease your cortisol levels (i.e. your stress hormones). Being dehydrated can put added stress on your body. There is no reason to add even more stress this time of year! Drink that water!!
11. Get Earthed.
Do you know what earthing is? It is still a fairly new concept to me, but I have been experiencing great results. Earthing is essentially grounding yourself, literally, to the earth's energy. Earthing has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep and reduce inflammation. You can walk barefoot on the ground to ‘earth' but that is pretty hard to do for me in the winter in Chicago. I have purchased an earthing sheet which has helped me feel more relaxed, sleep better and help with my general aches and pains. You can learn more about earthing products here.
12. Essential Oils.
I LOVE essential oils. I am constantly diffusing them in the air, ingesting (quality, food grade) oils and rubbing them on my body. One of my favorite blends for calming, Peace and Calming, is perfect for reducing stress, anxiety and tension. It can promote relaxation and peace and help relieve insomnia. Try it and see if it works for you! There are so many other essential oils good for reducing stress such as lavender, ylang ylang, lemon and frankincense. You can find out how to order quality essential oils here.
Have you tried reflexology? It is great for stress and tension reduction. You can even perform it on yourself!
What other tips do you have to add about how you handle stress at the holidays? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!