9 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Tis the season for waiting in airport lines, spending a little too much money, Googling gift ideas, getting stuck in traffic, navigating through crowds, dealing with fluctuating COVID-19 regulations, and of course, family.

I’ve posted stress relieving tips before, but considering the absolute chaos that can be the holiday season, there’s no such thing as too many stress management techniques. These are doable, everyday actions that can alleviate chronic stress and eliminate acute stress. You don’t need to pay for a weekend in the Bahamas to feel more relaxed, and you don’t need to isolate yourself from relatives in order to feel more calm.

As a practicing chiropractor and healthy living enthusiast, these are my 9 tips for managing holiday stress.

1)     Be Grateful

Don’t forget what the holiday season is really about. Be thankful for the big and small things in your life—loved ones, beloved pets, new opportunities, a favorite tv series, cloud formations, and just being able to wake every morning. You might start a gratitude journal where you list a few things every day that made you feel grateful. I know how corny it sounds, but these tiny actions can change your whole mindset overtime.

2)     Be Generous

The gift of giving is a powerful stimulant to the brain. Volunteering is also a great way to get out of the house and talk to other people—another powerful stimulant. You could volunteer at a local charity or help out a friend in need. You could donate gifts through programs like Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child. Just keep in mind that you don’t need to spend a ton of money. This includes your regular Christmas shopping list. If overspending or a tight budget is a point of stress, then calculate your budget before heading to the mall and stick to it.

3)     Exercising Mind and Body

You don’t need to do much physical exercise in order to benefit from the rush of endorphins and self-esteem boost. It only takes 20-30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week. And what you do during those 20-30 minutes is largely up to you. A brisk walk in the park, at-home dance party, and a HIIT session are all good options. In fact, just taking the time to stretch can be majorly beneficial.

Exercising the mind requires a steady routine of daily affirmations (like the aforementioned gratitude journal), reading, prayer (in whatever form you choose), and positivity. Here’s another exercise: make it more of a commitment by changing your language.  Instead of writing your to do list as “I have to write a blog post”, change it to “I choose to write a blog post because I want to help people feel less anxious during what should be a really joyous time.” Words are powerful.  Another possibility is to practice meditation and deep breathing.

4)     Eat Healthy

Attending all the holiday functions and parties can really take a toll on your diet routine. Try to keep to your usual healthy eating habits as best you can, but remember that there’s no harm in moderation.  As long as you don’t go overboard and devour an entire Christmas dinner by yourself, everything will balance itself out.  The body is resilient, so a few days of splurging is not going to make much difference. Now, if overeating at dinner parties was a point of stress for you last year, then one trick might be to fill up a bit on veggies at home, beforehand.

5)     Take Supplements

High-quality nutritional supplementation will nourish the brain and body, thereby strengthening your immune system, decreasing inflammation, and positively balancing mood and energy within optimal levels. Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D are highly effective at combatting the ‘winter blues.’ 

Or maybe you try a more natural supplement formulated by Yangseed Planet.We use a formula of amino acids, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, energizing vitamins and minerals, not only to boost your immune system and reduce stress, but to combat fatigue and anxiety, nourish the brain, and laser your focus as well.

6)      Be Productive

Easier said than done, sure. But it always feels good to accomplish something. Identify a couple tasks you want to get done everyday and then work towards completing those goals. These can be big or small. Don’t fall into the trap of overscheduling or stretching your time thin. One of your daily tasks could simply be to go to the car wash, clean your room, or finish tightening up, outside, around the house, in preparation for winter.

7)     Have Sex

A study from the US National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine found that anxiety and depression were significantly lower in subjects sexually active during lockdown. Physical intimacy with another person combats stress at both the physiological and psychological levels. So, try to maintain a loose but consistent engagement of sexual activity with your partner. If you’ve recently separated from your partner or are otherwise spending the holiday season single, try not to spend too much time sitting home alone. Use apps like Meetup.com to fill your calendar with group activities and hang out with friends and family.

8)     Laugh

Laughter has a positive effect on the immune system. It decreases the stress hormone cortisol, and ups our ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. Watch a few of your favorite SNL skits on YouTube. Invite friends over for dinner. And try not to take things too seriously. Rarely do the holidays go exactly according to plan. Be flexible and laugh off the blunders when you can.

9)     Accept Your Bad Days

Accept that it may be impossible to be stress-free and happy every moment of the holiday season. Our emotions are like waves. The ebb and flow of sadness and happiness are totally natural.

There will be days that are difficult to face with a sense of humor, days where it might not seem like anything’s going right. Maybe you were unable to make it home for the holidays and the sight of others on social media with their loved ones is just too much. And that’s okay. It’s normal to feel sadness and even grief. It’s okay to spend a day in bed munching on cookie dough and binge-watching Hallmark movies. What’s not okay is to feel guilty for being human.

Don’t let the holiday season become an annual source of stress. Take initiative for your mental and physical well-being, recognize your holiday triggers, take a deep breath, and beat those holiday blues away.

Summary

Tis the season for waiting in airport lines, spending a little too much money, Googling gift ideas, getting stuck in traffic, navigating through crowds, dealing with fluctuating COVID-19 regulations, and of course, family.


I’ve posted stress relieving tips before, but considering the absolute chaos that can be the holiday season, there’s no such thing as too many stress management techniques. That’s why I’m sharing my top 9 tips for managing holiday stress. These are doable, everyday actions that can alleviate chronic stress and eliminate acute stress.

Keep I mind that there will likely be days that are difficult to face with a sense of humor, days where it might not seem like anything’s going right. And that’s okay. It’s normal to feel sadness and even grief. It’s okay to spend a day in bed munching on cookie dough and binge-watching Hallmark movies. What’s not okay is to feel guilty for being human.

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12/21/2021 by Brenda

Thanks for sharing those comments.

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