Trade Holiday Stress Eating for some Holiday Stress-Relieving Tips

Put down the cookie and take a look at these stress relief ideas

Holiday shopping, card writing, gift wrapping, crowded roads, busy workplace, visiting relatives- feeling stressed yet? It’s the holiday season and  for many, with the cheer and joy of the holidays also comes added stress and pressure. I want to help you realize that that is perfectly OK. Stress happens, and to a point it helps us get things done. It is when stress gets to the point where we feel like we cannot cope that our well-being is compromised. When the feelings of Image courtesy of  jesadaphorn from FreeDigitalPhotos.netstress or pressure become too much for our body to handle, productivity plummets and health deteriorates. In moments like this, when you feel your blood boiling and your mind spinning into a blur of chaos, it is important to tell yourself to stop, breath, and take one step at a time. So before you dig into that pile of Christmas cookies or raid the stocking stash, here are a few techniques that I often use to relieve the excess holiday stress:

1.) Write notes and reminders. I have post-its everywhere and always have my planner with me, but keeping organized and having reminder notes and to-do lists are extremely helpful to sanity. And when you are able to check something off and move on to the next note, you are able to enjoy another deep breath.

2.) Listen to music. Music has a calming effect and even listening to it in the background when you are getting your to-do list accomplished will improve the atmosphere and mood. Music to recall positive memories is also a great trick. Ever wonder why you don’t get too sick of those classic Christmas songs? It is often because they bring back joyful childhood memories of Santa, presents, cookies in the oven, and whatever else may have been a holiday tradition in your family. Find what calms you and listen to music during daily tasks.

3.) Make time for yourself, and then take it. Too often we say we are going to put 20 minutes aside to do something for ourselves and relax and then decide to run an errand instead. Taking time for yourself is vital in stress-relief. This can be anything, within reasonable and healthy limits, but the best ‘you-time’ is to find something relaxing. When you indulge in an activity you find satisfying, it significantly reduces feelings of anxiety and stress. If you are artistic, maybe take some time to just sit and draw, paint, craft, or doodle for a segment of time for your stress-relief activity. Or if that doesn’t sound relaxing to you in the least, maybe reading a book, or catching up on your favorite magazine at the library, or going on a jog with a friend are good options for you. And remember to mix-up what you do during your ‘me-time’. With anything, doing the same thing everyday becomes routine and then feels like a chore, and this is your time in the day that you absolutely do not want to feel like a chore. Yoga, meditation, even a nap can also be examples of stress-relieving, indulgent activities. A study done by Michael Bahrke and William Morgan supported evidence that meditation and quiet rest have a significant effect in reduction of anxiety levels similar to that of exercise.

4.) Exercise. This often goes hand-in-hand with making time for yourself. For me, it is time I am able to set aside (almost) everyday to indulge in what I enjoy, focus on nothing else, and listen to a motivation playlist of my favorite songs. I feel empowered and refreshed after a workout, 800m-2 croppedand I know I am doing good for my mind and body. On my rest days I make sure to fit in one of the other stress-relieving ‘me-time’ options to ensure I do not fill that time with my hands in the cookie plate. It can be difficult to refrain from stress eating this time of year, with the snacks and sweets endlessly around the house and office, but exercise is an easy way to beat the pressure. You will not want that sugar coated cookie after a good workout. Moderate physical activity each day has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. It is important to not forget the many health benefits of adding exercise into your day in addition to its stress-relieving powers. As discussed in many of our past posts, there are endless ways to get your physical activity in, such as pilates, running, weightlifting, rowing, recreation sports, etc. Find what you enjoy, do something different from time to time, and focus on how to reduce stress in your life each and every day.

So enjoy the holidays and holiday goodies but be sure to not over-indulge in them and keep your body healthy! Here's to a happy and reduced stress holiday season from everyone here at BodyCraft Fitness.


Posted By: Jennifer

Live, Laugh, Love Your Body

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