As we all know, the holidays can be a particularly stressful time. Whether it is dealing with the crowds and extra expense of holiday shopping, interacting with family or colder days and less sunshine, it can have an unhealthy toll on you and your family. Here's some suggestions to help you get through this holiday season.
1. Consider planning outings with family instead of massive shopping expeditions. Not only will you save money, you will also have the opportunity to spend quality time with those that you love.
2. Make your gifts. There is nothing more special than knowing that someone took the time to make your gift. A hand knitted scarf or fresh baked cookies are just the ticket to show someone how much you love them.
3. If you don't have time to exercise, then at least spend 2 to 5 minutes per day walking in place. Put some soup cans in your hands and move your arms up and down to increase the blood flow through your body and release endorphins.
4. Spend 5 minutes before you going to sleep and do some belly breathing. Most people when they are under stress tend to breathe from their chest which limits the oxygen they get into their lungs. When you breathe from your belly, your diaphram pushes down allowing your lungs to expand more fully. If it is difficult for you to breathe from your belly, then place a book on your belly while you are lying down and push the book up with your belly during an in-breath.
5. Eat whole foods rather than packaged foods. The chemicals in packaged foods can affect your mood and well-being. Green leafy vegetables are the best when under stress. Coffee and caffeine in general, tend to increase blood pressure and stress.
6. Get some body work, either chiropractic or massage therapy. Both of these modalities help you to release the stress from your body and give you a better sense of well-being.
7. Rest is key to keeping stress at bay. If you have difficulty sleeping, try the breathing exercise mentioned in #4 which will stimulate the brain waves essential for great sleep. Drinking chamomile tea is also known for helping to produce a relaxed sleep.
8. Recognize the things you can control and those that you can't. For instance, when you are stuck in traffic, you are stuck. There is nothing you can do about it. So, instead of getting upset, put on some uplifting music or call a friend.
9. Lavendar is a plant that you can find in essential oils, bath soaps and sprays. It is excellent for relaxation.
10. Take a walk outside without your cell phone or MP3 player. Allow your mind to unwind and take this time to process your day.
These are tips I've been sharing with my clients for years that have produced excellent results. Keep strong, breathe deep when stressed, stay healthy and be positive. It will help you feel much happier this holiday season.