We can't believe that it is already time for the holidays! The holiday season can be joyous, nostalgic, and full of good food. However, it can also bring a lot of prep, planning and stress. That's why we put together some of our favorite tips and tricks on how to reduce holiday stress.
1. Take 15 Minutes out of your day for a quick workout
If you find yourself struggling to get to the gym, put aside 15 minutes for a quick workout. This can come in all forms: dancing, walking around the neighborhood, free weights, etc. Studies show that working out for even just 15 minutes can help release endorphines, improve circulation, boost metabolism, and maintain overall good health.
One of our favorite ways to get in a quick workout is to go to The Fitness Marshall's youtube page and dance the stress away. You can also check out some of our other blog posts for some fitness inspiration.
2. Practice Mindfulness Exercises
Feeling overwhelmed or finding yourself with negative thoughts? Try the following mindfulness exercises:
- Focus on your breathing: close your eyes and breathe in through your nose, fill your belly and diaphragm with air, slowly release the breath through your nose. Concentrate on how the breath moves in and out of your body. When you breathe deeply, your heart rate slows, blood oxygen level increases, and it sends a message to your brain to relax.
- Body scan meditation: with your eyes closed bring attention to you body. Start by focusing on your head and move slowly down to your toes, pay deliberate attention to each part of your body. Benefits of practicing body scans include increased awareness, stress reduction, gained understanding of where you hold tension/pressure, better focus, and more.
- Walking meditation: find a quiet area to take a brisk walk. Focus on the sensations you feel while walking. Bring attention to your balance and any subtle movements you take. Walking meditation is a great alternative for those who struggle sitting still and focusing inward.
These are just a few of many mindfulness exercises that can help reduce stress levels and support cognitive function. There are also plenty of Apps that can guide you through mindfulness practices and self-care activities.
3. Maintain A balanced Diet
Most associate the holidays with flavorful food and it tends to be a time when we let ourselves indulge in our favorite treats. However, it is important to maintain a balanced diet during the holidays. When we change what we eat drastically and don't maintain our usual eating habits, it can lead to headaches, sluggishness, bloating, and mood changes. To help maintain a balanced diet during the holidays, drink plenty of water, start your day with a high protein meal, and load up on high fiber food. It is important to eat mindfully and stay satisfied.
4. Get Creative
Did you know that creativity can increase postive emotions, reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and improve overall health? Take a moment this holiday season to do something creative. Maybe it's playing an instrument, painting, drawing, baking, or making your own ornaments. You can even turn it into a family bonding activity!
5. Brainstorm Gift ideas and find the right time to shop
Every gift is about the thought that goes into it. This year, switch it up and opt for something creative. Make a flower arrangement, create a piece of art, bake cookies, and/or put together a self care basket. Bonus points - pair with a box of chocolates, or should I say...No Cow bars.
Make this process as easy as possible. If you get stressed out in crowded stores, avoid shopping during the weekends at popular retail locations. If you are struggling to find time or transportation, then shop online and have it shipped to your door.
6. Treat Yourself...
Be sure to take care of yourself this holiday season. Give yourself a little extra love and participate in self-care activities. Take a bath, put on a face mask, and kick back with a bottle of wine and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup bar.