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Decrease Your Stress for the Holidays

Let’s face it, as happy, joyous and exciting the Christmas holiday season is stress seems to creep its way in as well. Whether it is from trying to find the perfect gifts for loved ones, hosting and cooking big holiday feasts, or even if it is just from the end of the year coming up, most people will experience the Christmas craziness. During what is supposed to be such a wonderful time of the year, we should not be feeling worse than we do throughout the rest of the year, and here are some great ways to help keep those stress levels down so that you can let yourself enjoy the holidays as best you can!

  1. Get a Massage

Maybe I’m a bit biased here, but there is nothing better than leaving all that holiday stress at the door and slipping between

the blankets, knowing that hour is dedicated to you and you only. Massage is a great tool to rid of pain and discomfort, but it is also one of the best ways to reduce stress! You don’t need to have trigger points released or tight muscles stripped; just a simple relaxing Swedish massage will do the trick. You’re so busy during this season trying to make everyone else happy, but why sacrifice your happiness in the process? Treat yourself, trust me, it will make your holidays much more enjoyable.

  1. Just Breathe

You’re shopping in a jam-packed mall, trying to finish all your last minute gifts. Everyone is grumpy, hot, and bumping into one another. Not an ideal scene. That overwhelming feeling of anxiety, frustration, and anger rise and you are now in a horrible mood, when you should be really excited. This doesn’t just happen when your shopping. It could be while cooking for 10+ people, the kids are running around, the dog just peed on the floor, etc. The simple solution? Just breathe. It won’t clean up the mess or stop people from running into you, but it will calm you down. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing has a relaxing effect on the body’s nervous system, and we tend not to do it. You should breathe into your stomach so that it expands first, with the chest following after that. Just find a seat wherever you are, do 3-5 deep breathes like this, focusing on each slow breath in and slowly breathing out. It won’t fix the problem, but it will definitely calm you down so you can deal with it in a much more manageable manner.

  1. Involve the Kids

Here’s a great idea that will even get your children more excited for Christmas. Whether it is the man or woman of the house in charge, the stress of having to handle planning the holiday get-togethers, cooking, cleaning, and ESPECIALLY buying gifts for the family is definitely a big task to do alone. Why take on all that extra stress?! Make games out of chores so the kids will enjoy doing them, or give a small reward for them to complete a task you need done. This will allow you to focus more time on the tasks on your list that are stressing you out, and once you finish those, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. For example, if your child sets the table for all the guests, they get to choose the dessert for that day. It’s something small, but young kids especially will enjoy the challenge so they can reap the benefits. And another tip, ALWAYS remind them that Santa is watching!

  1. Make a List and Stick to it

You have a million things to do but you only keep a mental note of it? This is going to get you thinking there is much more that needs to be done than there actually is, and causes a lot of stress and mental cloudiness. Write down everything, form a list of gifts, to the menu and list of groceries, even to small things such as decorating or cleaning up. It will clear your mind, and it is very satisfying being able to cross a chore off the ‘to-do’ list. This will definitely make your holidays easier to handle.   The final but most important tip of all, ENJOY YOURSELF! Nothing is perfect, but who cares. The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and appreciating all you have. If you reduce your stress this holiday season, you will enjoy the time spent with your family much more, and by practising these tips and tricks, you will already be setting yourself up for a healthy new year!

Written By: Samantha Romano, RMT