How to Handle Holiday Stress

Parties and treats.

Decorations and gifts.

Holiday joy and holiday cheer.

If it’s the most wonderful time of the year, why are we so stressed?

It’s the pressure, right?

Around the holidays, we have even more on our plates. The pressure to show ALL of our loved ones the best equals hours spent scouring the internet and stores for gifts. The pressure to show neighbors we’re festive and jolly means we cash in a Saturday to adorn our homes with costly decorations. And with the pressure to be giving, we host parties and gift co-workers with sweet treats.

And the pressure behind all of it is the pressure to spend more money, which we all know is a huge stressor for most.

But if it’s just one time of the year, where everyone feels more stressed, and we’re all just trying to “get through the holidays,” what’s the big deal?

Well, the CDC has found that the #1 cause of death for women is heart disease (and a leading cause for men). And what causes heart disease? Stress! To reduce our risk, the CDC says we must keep our blood pressure low (aka de-stress) by exercising more, eating less fat and including more fruits and veggies into our diets. This is solid advice, but in my experience and what I’ve found coaching others, is that we don’t do these things when we don’t take the time to S L O W   D O W N. Sure, we can throw a banana in our lunch and get to the gym, but if we’re chronically stressed, we are actually negating the positive effects from the fruit and exercise. Slowing down lets that goodness in, through a relaxed body, and also helps us see the connection between eating well and feeling well. WIN-WIN.

Just a little science to pour the foundation here. Our nervous system operates from one of two states, sympathetic and parasympathetic. Flight, flight or freeze (sympathetic) or rest and digest (parasympathetic). Most Americans are rushing around stressed out which means they’re living in a chronic state of stress (sympathetic nervous system mode). To switch over to the parasympathetic mode, we need to make a conscious effort.

Read on for my simple tips to reduce stress…

As a health coach and yoga teacher, I feel a calling to support others ease the holiday-related stress.

When I teach, I add extra guided speak about the importance of taking time to relax and recharge. With all the running around we do already adding Christmas shopping and get-togethers means it’s even more important to balance this out with stillness, relaxation, and reconnection to our selves AND the true meaning of the holidays.

So, in the interest of not adding one more thing to your plate, here are a few simple hacks to de-stress and actually enjoy the holidays more:

  1. Pause for 3 deep breaths 3x/day (this is your conscious effort to redirect your nervous system back to the rest and digest mode so it can perform all of its necessary functions while keeping you from overreacting, overeating, and making snap holiday-related decisions  (Mint Chocolate Oreo’s on your Shipt order anyone?!) :-[
  2. Schedule extra chill time in your week to balance out extra holiday events. Plan nights in to make tea and snuggle up by that Christmas tree you spent so long decorating 🙂 Read a book or write down what you’re grateful for. Gratitude research is hot right now informing us of the simple and powerful effects on our stress and moods when we focus on our blessings.
  3. Enjoy the extra treats you have and you’ll eat fewer.  Instead of feeling guilty and gobbling down treats at a party, mindfully select the ones you really want, and then enjoy every bite.

If you would like to meet for a free consultation to learn more about health coaching, and making 2020 your BEST YEAR YET, contact me here 🙂

Holistic Health Coach // Yoga Instructor // Herbalist // Humanist

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