Learn to handle stress during holidays like a pro! From curbing negative self-talk to beating workplace stress, here are 11 tips to help you.
Handle Stress Brought by the Holidays with These 11 Ideas
1. Beat the Holiday Blues
You can handle stress better when you can beat one of your staunchest enemies: holiday blues.
A lot of people are prone to a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s when you feel more depressed or sadder even if there’s no reason to.
Scientists and doctors don’t understand why this happens. A common belief is it’s due to the effect of winter.
The overcast and gray skies may prevent you from enjoying the same vitamin D that’s abundant during the summer.
One of the excellent coping skills against SAD is soaking up the sun. Enjoy the outdoors!
If you can’t have enough, consider phototherapy. In this process, the doctor uses a box that emits light to mimic the effects or feelings of sunlight.
If the sadness comes from grief, deal with stress by breaking ties with the old memories. Abandon the customs you’re used to and make room for new ones.
2. Kill Your Anxiety and Negative Thoughts
What causes holiday stress? Many things and a lot of them can lead to stress and anxiety.
The relationship between these two is complex, but they lead to significant changes in the body.
When you’re under stress, the body releases stress hormones, like the stress hormone cortisol.
It helps you become alert and focused by releasing glucose into your bloodstream. It also raises your blood pressure and heart rate.
The problem is, when you’re under chronic stress the whole year, these biomarkers don’t go down. In turn, you become more sensitive to a lot of stressors and feelings of anxiety.
Learn to handle stress this holiday season by taking care of your mental health as well. For example, you can listen to music if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Even the American Psychological Association (APA) agrees to the beneficial effects of music on stress. It can bring down your heart rate and blood pressure as well as reduce pain.
Positive self-talk can also help immensely. It can get rid of negative thoughts that are wearing you down.
3. Walk Your Way to Snoozeville
One of the best ways to handle stress is something you’ve been doing your whole life: sleep.
Sleep can combat the effects of stress in many ways:
- It gives your brain and body time to recover and reset.
- Sleep can reduce your stress hormones, heart rate, and blood pressure.
- It can even decrease your cholesterol levels.
- Sleep gives you the energy you need for the next day.
- It can help strengthen your immune system.
How do you guarantee a good night’s sleep for a stress-free holiday? You can take supplements like melatonin or 5-HTP.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body temperature, hormone, and blood pressure. 5-HTP, meanwhile, is a naturally occurring amino acid that improves the secretion of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood and sleep.
You can buy these over the counter but talk to your doctor first before taking them. They may not work well if you’re taking other medications or supplements.
Coping with stress during the holidays also means paying more attention to your physical health. Some conditions may impact your sleep hygiene.
4. Manage Your Time Like Google Calendar
Work stress plus personal stress equal to a lot of negative things. These can range from anxiety to depression and burnout.
When stress at work is killing your holiday vibe, it’s time to put your stress management skills at the forefront.
One is to stick to your routine. Don’t neglect your hobbies, exercise, or Netflix because the holidays are here.
The more you disrupt your “calendar,” the more you will have a hard time coping with the massive changes.
Getting your colleagues or friends to help is also good for your mental well-being. Delegate tasks to them or ask them for assistance individually.
Don’t send mass emails! Otherwise, people won’t help because they assume someone is already going to do it.
Another way to deal with one of the sources of stress is to learn to be picky with jobs.
Choose one or two—nothing more. Avoid those that put you in extremely stressful situations.
5. Eat Right
Following a healthy diet is a must year-round. Doing it right the holiday season, though, makes it more essential.
To handle stress, you need lots of energy. For that, add honey into your tea or eat a spoonful of it.
Honey is an excellent source of natural sugars, which your body converts into fuel. It may also have antibacterial properties, according to a 2011 research.
If you’re craving for something sweet, skip the cookies. Instead, consume fruits like peaches or strawberries.
You may also want to eat breakfast first before grabbing a cup of coffee. It prevents a sugar spike.
Lastly, begin to train your taste buds to eat something spicy. Hot foods may increase the production of endorphins or feel-good hormones.
6. Slow Your Days Down
Stress levels are at an all-time high during the holidays because you are (or at least feel) always busy. You run errands, entertain guests, set up parties, etc.
You’re like a car with a rapidly depleting fuel. You can relieve stress by learning to slow down your time.
Don’t overcrowd your calendar with to-do’s. Know your priorities and stick to them.
You can also look forward to stress reduction by doing digital detox at least once a week. The constant buzzing of your mobile devices may increase stress problems, said a 2016 survey.
Most of all, to handle stress, strive to achieve work-life balance. Get a real vacation!
Spend at least five days off your workstation and take in all the wonderful sceneries and the beautiful memories.
7. Try These to Handle Stress Quickly
The different relaxation techniques come in handy during the holiday season. Besides deep breathing and mindfulness, you can experience stress relief quickly in two ways:
- Smell citrus.
- Squeeze your Hoku spot.
Some studies showed that the smell of citrus, such as lemon or orange, can alleviate your mood. It releases another feel-good hormone called norepinephrine.
You can boil lemon rinds on a pot of water or dab some essential oils on your hanky.
If you’re feeling stressed, you can also squeeze the Hoku spot, an acupressure point. It’s the fleshy section in between the thumb and the index finger.
What is an acupressure point? These are points in the body that may produce positive or negative effects depending on the manipulation.
As a popular Chinese medicine technique, it may reduce your stress levels within 30 seconds of pressing.
8. Have Sex
Sex is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re dealing with a lot of stress this holiday season. Guess what, it’s good for your health and well-being.
An afternoon delight or an evening romp can exercise your body and increase oxytocin, a hormone that promotes better sleep.
To make the moment even better, include massage in your foreplay. It lets you manage stress by releasing tension in the muscles.
9. Hit the Gym and Lift the Dumbbells
Exercise can do wonderful things to your body, including weight loss and muscle building. It also helps you handle stress more effectively.
According to Harvard Medical School, it can decrease your stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. It also produces endorphins, which alleviate pain and boost your mood.
Managing stress with exercise is easy since you have plenty of options. These can range from running to doing yoga.
Walking is a great exercise as well. Even better, it can decrease your feelings of anxiety due to the rhythm.
10. Ease Up a Little
In reality, it’s not the stress that’s the problem. It’s your stress response.
Learn to handle stress like a pro by not overthinking it. Problems come and go, and life will never be perfect no matter how you plan it.
Instead, spend less time brooding and planning and more time enjoying.
Suggestion: Whenever you can, eat out with your family if cooking stresses you out.
11. Don’t Forget to Laugh
An excellent relaxation response is laughing. It can reduce stress by decreasing your stress hormones.
Most of all, it’s free! So go watch a fun movie or be silly.
Stressful jobs and long-term stress can put a lot of pressure on you this holiday season. These ideas, though, will hopefully give you the tools you need to handle stress gracefully.
How do you handle stress and pressure? Share your tips in the comments section below.