Stress Management for the Holidays


We’re almost to the “most wonderful time of the year,” but for many people stress, anxiety and overwhelm can cloud out the beauty of the holiday season. The holidays were meant to be enjoyable, but so many of us stress about time—there’s never enough time to do all the baking, decorating, prepping for guests and memory-making we want to do. It’s also financially stressful for many of us as we gravitate to once-a-year sales that can’t be missed and have a gift list that rivals Santa Claus. Add to the mix end-of-year pressures at work, challenging family dynamics and a hectic holiday social calendar, and it’s enough to make many of us want to fast forward to the New Year. It doesn’t have to be this way. Bring back the joy this season with a few of our stress management techniques for the holidays

Just say, “No” (And you can say, “Yes” to things that really matter)
In the holiday season, it’s more important than ever to prioritize what’s important to you. You want to have energy and goodwill in abundance for the things that really matter. In order to do that, you will have to say “no.” This may be super challenging for the people-pleasers out there, but the bonus will be you will bring your best self to the relationships and activities YOU deem a priority. Keep in mind, this is your list and it won’t look exactly like anyone else’s.

Deep breathing
When you feel your breath getting shallow and your heart starts to palpitate, it’s time to take a time-out for yourself. Whether you’re in the check-out lane or stopped in your tracks with memories of a loved one who is no longer here to enjoy the holidays with you, it’s time to breathe. Take a long, deep breath through your nose to fill your lungs, hold your breath and count to three and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat for at least 10 breaths or until you feel your anxiety begin to diminish. This is a helpful technique to use wherever you are.

Meditation is a proven way to combat stress even if you have as little as 5 or 10 minutes to practice each day. If you carve out this time for yourself after you wake, it can help you handle the inevitable stressors you will face each day. There are apps you can get to guide you through meditation, but it’s just as easy to guide yourself with your own mindfulness practice each morning. Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, sit comfortably and focus on your breath. The goal is to keep centered on the present moment, so when thoughts, distractions or other sensations draw you away from the present (and they will), remind yourself to focus on your breathing.

Essential oils
The essential oils extracted from plants can help balance and create a healthier body and mind. You can ingest essential oils, diffuse them or apply them topically with a carrier oil. The right essential oils can help you get in the holiday spirit as well as detox and distress from too much holiday fun. There are many different recipes to try that mix several essential oils, but when you’re in a crunch you can inhale the aroma from Frankincense for a quick stress relief even when you’re on the go.

Don’t miss exercise
You may have heard that exercise is as effective as antidepressants. In times of stress, exercise is mandatory, but it’s often the first thing to be sacrificed when we’re really busy. To make sure you prioritize your own self-care, schedule exercise like an important appointment. You wouldn’t cancel on someone else, so don’t cancel on yourself.

Please call us at 303-472-6743 to schedule your next Pilates or functional fitness class.