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Educational health information to improve your well-being.

5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

August 24, 2016 | By Nicole Simmons
Published in: Mental Health

Writing in the sand at the beach. Where is your stress free zone?

The holidays can be a great time for family, friends and fun. But it can also be a stressful time for many people. These are 6 easy tips to decrease your stress level during the holidays – or any time – and will help you to have a better, happier holiday season.

* Before starting any type of exercise consult your physician

1. Get Moving!

Exercise releases endorphins, which are the feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. Regular exercise relaxes has many benefits for your body's health – mentally, emotionally and physically. Even taking a short walk before or after meals can help you. If the weather isn't conducive to a walk, have a short dance party in your living room.

Benefits of exercise:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Better sleep
  • Decreased stress levels
  • Better physical shape
  • Increased daily focus
  • More energy

2. Be Social

people socializing at dinnerA part of human nature is the desire to fit in or be part of a group. Therefore, taking the time to socialize and spend time with other people is an important part of staying healthy. Talking to family and friends calms your nervous system. The holidays are a time for family and friends to come together and it's a great time to relieve stress through interaction.

Benefits of socializing:

  • Reduce stress
  • Feel supported
  • Help develop a more active lifestyle
  • Stay mentally alert
  • Reach your goals

3. Give Backvolunteer give back

During the holidays it's easy to focus on material things and inward thoughts but often these lead to stressful thoughts as we strive to "keep up with the Joneses". A wonderful thing to do during these times is give back to those less fortunate. You can volunteer your time serving food at a local shelter, donate warm clothing to the homeless or even donate money to your favorite non-profit. Focusing on others can often lead to feelings of connectedness and help you appreciate the things you have, which can lead to reduced stress levels.

4. Take Control

The holidays can be a very busy time with family obligations, meal preparations and much more. Having too many things on your plate, at one time, can increase stress levels due to a lack of time. For your health, learn how to say no. Learning how to prioritize your commitments and choosing what you can handle are important.

5. Just Breathe

frog doing yoga and relaxingBreathing pulls fresh oxygen from the air into the blood stream. This oxygen feeds all the body's organs including the brain and central nervous system. Deep, relaxed breaths in through the nose calms the nervous system and helps the body deal with stress. When you're feeling stressed, try pulling a few deep breaths in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Yoga also focuses on breath control and can be a helpful activity to reduce stress levels.