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8 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Are holiday preparations stressing you out? Here are some tips to help you unwind.

The holidays mean finding the perfect present, traveling or preparing your home for guest and it means dealing with family. That equation can add up to a lot of  stress.

Dr. Megan Hood, a clinical psychologist with an expertise in stress management at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, says trying to attain a more stress-free existence is a pretty popular goal around the holidays and the new year.

But staying away from stress is not as simple as making a New Year’s Eve wish.

“That tends to be a common goal, a nice broad goal,” Hood says. “But it also tends to be challenging.”

Still, Hood has some tips to keep stress at bay.

  • Enjoy the moment. Don’t always rush ahead to the next thing, Hood cautions. Take a second to just enjoy the small things in life: a catchy song playing, a nice smell or something positive going on around you.
  • Plan ahead—when you can. Having plans and maintaining schedules is a good thing, but make your goals manageable and realistic, and don’t worry about anything out of your control, Hood says.
  • Be active. Plan an activity with your family that doesn’t involve vegging out on the couch, Hood advises.
  • Have healthy snacks available. In accordance with your overall health, be sure to eat foods that are good for you, especially after splurging on holiday food.
  • Do something that makes you feel good. The holidays involve giving gifts to others, but don’t forget about yourself when they are over. Hood recommends participating in whatever brings a smile to your face, whatever you enjoy, especially social groups or activities.  
  • Volunteer. Helping people helps us feel positive and better about ourselves, Hood says.
  • Take deep, short breaths. Don’t underestimate the power of deep breathing. When you trick your body into relaxing, the mind and the thoughts follow, Hood explains.
  • Expect the best. Always be positive, Hood adds. If you intentionally expect good things and good results, you’ll probably get them.

TELL US: How do you de-stress? Are you resolving to stress less in 2013?

Darlene Josaphe December 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I have made a resolution to stress less in 2013, which includes not just a promise to myself to avoid and manage stress, but a concrete plan of action as to just how I am going to do it, one day at a time. I share that plan of action in my book Resolutions for Stress Relief, which was recently published on Amazon for KIndle.
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