The Holiday Season is upon us, once again! Many of us are looking forward to spend time with family and friends to share food, to catch up with each other, to exchange gifts or to go out and even explore a new country. The Holiday season is meant to share our Joy, Love and Happiness. It is also an opportunity to over eat, over drink, over buy or over indulge in everything under the moon. However, with each holiday season comes also a higher stress level, depression or anxiety.
Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response and can be caused by anything or anyone such a family member or friend you do not want to see, a partner that you no longer want to be with but you stay with for the wrong reason, buying the appropriate gifts, worrying about the bill that will surely come but this time higher than usual, flight you might have to catch, weather conditions if traveling etc.
Try the following tips to help you overcome stress during this holiday season:
1-Remove from your mind any thoughts that say: I must do this…., I have to do this…I have to buy this….this way of thinking is causing you harm and increase your anxiety and stress level. Replace those thoughts by: I enjoy choosing the right gift or I enjoy surprising people or this is going to be fun etc.
2-Each day, quiet your mind by taking five deep breaths slowly, inhale and exhale and think of being in the moment. Do this, morning, afternoon, evening, whenever, you feel stress. It will take about 2min of your time, but will help you tremendously. For some of you, meditation for 10 min a day will help even more.
3- Take some time for just you! Do something you enjoy doing for 30 min, maybe you like to walk in nature or swim or read or dance. Whatever it is, focus on yourself, and not everyone else.
4- Instead of buying unnecessary gifts that will be most likely returned, focus on fewer but more meaningful gifts. Many prefer something that you will make or give from your heart. The importance is spend quality time with your family and friends and make new memories.
5-Try to exercise or do physical activities that will help you relax. It does not have to wait for the New Year resolution, you can start now! You can even do it from the comfort of your home using the Wii or P90X or any other programs you may choose. You can also start walking around the block and increase gradually your step or length of walking.
6- Do not overdo it! Don’t say yes to every project that comes your way. Learn how to say No! Prioritize what you want to do and can do. Choose what gives you the most joy!
7- Do not think of all the “chores” you have to do or must do. Think of it as a “game” where having the more fun is what matters. If you think or say” Great, I have to go on the roof and put the lights up, I don’t want to do that” or “I must decorate the house” or “ another holiday party, I do not want to go” then these are becoming a chore. Turn it around and ask your neighbor to help you out, get to know them, do the same for them in return. When you go to that dreaded holiday party, think you will make new friends or encounter new people and if the party is boring, be the Life of the party. How you are as you just “being” dictate your mood, emotions not just on you but on others as well.
Remember the Holiday Season is about sharing and enjoying the company of your family and friends! Breathe in, Breathe out, Relax and Just “Be” in the present moment.