The holiday season is a special time of the year! Even just the thought of it being around the corner can fill us with anticipation. Many times it gives us the opportunity to spend time with family, take some time off of work, and best of all - a chance to relax. However, the holidays are not always a positive experience for everyone. The holiday season can put us in stressful situations such as buying gifts, entertaining guests, or even ignoring our feelings (like sadness or loneliness) in an effort to maintain the ‘holiday cheer’ that is associated with the season.
Many of us also take on a large financial burden during this time of the year that only adds to our stress. A survey from Think Finance shows just how much - as 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas! This says a lot about the levels of pressure people are put under during the holiday season.
Below we share our top 5 strategies to help you manage stress levels and make your holiday season a joyful one.
The holiday season has us running around buying food for parties, gifts for the kids, and maybe even picking up relatives from the airport. With all of this activity, the last thing you want to think about is forcing yourself to be more physically active than you already are. However, dedicating some time for exercise can have huge benefits for your mental wellbeing.
By engaging in exercise, you stimulate the production of endorphins in the brain. These brain chemicals act as a natural painkiller and can also trigger positive emotions—boosting your mood and reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. You can choose any activity that you like to do, even walking for 30 minutes a day will get your endorphins flowing!
Think About Yourself
There’s nothing selfish about taking some me-time every now and then. It’s easy to forget this during the holiday season when our calendars fill up with responsibilities and time for our personal well-being starts to evaporate.
Even taking 15 minutes to sit down and be by yourself can be incredibly refreshing. Take time to enjoy your moment to yourself - put on some music, watch your favorite movie/tv show, or even just enjoy your own company!
Looking to make your alone time even more healing? Try incorporating meditation, which offers many benefits to increase positivity and reduce stress and depression. There are many free apps and instructive videos that can get you started, or you can try a mini-meditation session on your own and see how you do! Just find a quiet and peaceful place, find a comfortable position to sit, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.
Stick To The Plan
Make your plans your priority. If you have a workout to get to, a salsa class to attend, or just meeting a friend for coffee, don’t cancel plans to get more done. Take on only what you can manage, and make sure that you set aside time for what you want to do. It can be incredibly empowering to create a plan and stick to it.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t commit to someone else’s housewarming or birthday party—they’ll understand that you have priorities, and you will feel better for having carried them out.
Go Easy On Yourself
It’s easy to be harsh on yourself during such a hectic season. Sure, entertaining guests and having a lovely meal is fun, but the mess left behind can be quite the opposite. Too often we rush to clean up the mess right away, feeling guilty for any clutter or left-over mess.
Remember that it is natural if your house gets a bit messier during this time of the year, and nobody should judge you for it (especially if they helped to create it). Take your time in cleaning up holiday messes, and don't be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. Most importantly, be kind to yourself, and be happy in doing the best that you can.
Cell phones are a necessity in this day and age, as almost every part of our lives are connected to our phones. However, the constant noise and activity from cell phone notifications and calls can become overwhelming and even increase stress levels.
For this reason, it can be good to take a break from your phone every now and again. Just turn it off or put it on silent mode and leave it in another room for an hour or two. Giving yourself a short break from social media and stressful phone calls can make a world of difference in your mental state and vastly improve your mood. Take the opportunity to connect with your surroundings, yourself, and those around you.
Holidays are supposed to be a happy time for us to come together with the ones we love. Don’t let stress build up to the point where you are not enjoying it. Take time for yourself and your mental health in order to be completely present with the ones you love.
Wishing you a joyful holiday season from the Metro OBGYN team!