Tips and Tricks to Handle Stress during the Holiday Season from Tips and Tricks to Handle Stress during the Holiday Season

Tips and Tricks to Handle Stress during the Holiday Season

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Tips and Tricks to Handle Stress during the Holiday Season

Holidays and family are often the perfect storm for evoking all kinds of stress, anger and emotional triggers. It all starts with Halloween and wraps up around January 2. The common byproducts are anxiety and despair. The number of demands can make anyone feel lightheaded – travel, gifts, dinners, parties, weight maintenance, and even cleaning.

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Leave the room

Stress isn’t going to go away but you can. This is a time of the year when people tend to reflect on what hasn’t gone well and a lot of things come up. When you know this will happen, leave the room, Richard Zinbarg, Ph.D., Psychology Professor at Northwestern University and director of the Anxiety and Panic Treatment Program at The Family Institute, says. Go outside and get some fresh air or talk to other people. Laugh it off and don’t take anyone’s comments seriously.

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Stay outside

Sunlight increases the level of serotonin (known as the “happy” hormone) in your body. Light therapy – using a light box for a couple of hours a day – is considered one of the most effective ways for people to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). So be outside during sunny days or stay by the window.

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Smell citrus fragrances

Research has shown that smelling citrus fragrances can restore the stress-induced immunosuppression, suggesting that they may have an effect on restoring the homeostatic balance. So smell lemon, for example, to increase the levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood.

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Stay away from electronics

There is a scientific connection between smartphones and stress – people constantly check messages and alerts and worry why they haven’t heard back from boyfriends, girlfriends, potential partners, work, etc. Turn off your phone for a few hours. You won’t miss the messages but you may miss some fun times with your family or friends.

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Remember the hoku spot

Put pressure on the hoku spot. According to Chinese medicine, the fleshy place between your index finger and thumb can do wonders. Squeeze it hard for about 30 seconds and you should feel less stress and tense. People often do this when they have a headache. The hoku point is popular in acupuncture and acupressure to relieve pain.

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Try a new hobby

Taking your mind off the usual stuff and concentrating on something new and exciting can boost your mood significantly. Some helpful hobbies for stress relief include playing cards, painting, dancing, volunteering, and playing sports.

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Don’t do too many things

If everybody is taking time off, why should you work more? Don’t fill your schedule with more tasks than you can handle. Don’t put yourself in a position where you feel overwhelmed or pressured to finish everything you’ve planned for. It’s OK to slow down.

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Exercise

Working out has unlimited benefits. As far overall cognitive function goes, working out enhances it. Stress affects your brain. Your nervous system affects the rest of the body which then feels that impact of anxiety. Scientists have found that doing aerobic exercises on regular basis decreases overall levels of tension, and it elevates mood.

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Listen to music

Studies show that listening to your favorite music is a great wat to relieve stress. Happy tunes relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. Another reason to listen to music is that it may help you eat less, according to Cornell University. Since overeating is one the most common problems people face during the holidays, you may want to keep your iPod charged at all times.

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Volunteer

Volunteering is good for the body and mind, research shows. The biggest benefit is feeling connected to other people. This helps to ward off loneliness and depression. Lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan have also been linked to charitable activities. The reason could be something as logical as increased physical activity among people who aren’t otherwise very active.

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Eat breakfast

You probably have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? So why not start fresh with high-quality nutrients rather than caffeine? Drinking coffee on an empty stomach sharply increases your blood sugar, making you irritated and anxious.

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Ask for help

If you feel like you can’t handle the stress by yourself, there is no shame in seeking advice from professionals who specialize in helping people overcome anxiety. You may ask a friend for help. Talking to good listeners is a good way of “getting things out of your system.”

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Have a budget

It’s the holidays and you want to spoil your nieces, nephews and best friends. But your credit card balance may not allow that. Do the math and see how much money you actually can afford to spend on food, presents and family activities. Getting deeper into debt won’t buy happiness.

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It’s OK to say NO

People take advantage of friends who are always available for even the littlest things. Agreeing to help everybody with everything will leave you overwhelmed with no time to enjoy yourself or spend quality time with family. This leads to resentment that eventually builds up. The excessive tension and pressure will eventually take a toll on your physical and mental health by resulting in upset stomach, headaches or migraines.

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Plan your next vacation

When you feel like emotions can get the better of you, step away and make plans for a real week-long vacation. Looking forward to happy moments puts a smile on your face and lowers your stress levels. Meticulous planning has been scientifically proven to improve mood. It’s also the best way of ensuring you’re going to have a fantastic time without spending a fortune.

Tips and Tricks to Handle Stress during the Holiday Season