Simple Ways to Reduce Your Stress Over the Holidays

It’s that time of year again, when houses of overflowing with people, several of whom, you haven’t spoken to in a year. Add on top of that: coordinating meals, cleaning up after meals, and running that last minute errand just in time to get your child’s coveted toy- item that just got back in stock! This is a quick recipe for high stress, but you do have some back-up options to conquer and overcome the whirlwind frenzy of the holidays, and these stress-lowering options take 5 minutes or less.

According to clinical psychologist, Mindy Greenstein, Ph.D., “The body is set up to have short bursts, get out of harm’s way, and get back to normal. In the case of the prolonged stress, you don’t get that respite, and the body continues churning out cortisol,” otherwise referred to as the “stress hormone.”

1. Harness the Power of Breathing

Oftentimes we forget how quickly we can calm our bodies down with deep cleansing breaths. Think about yoga and how much attention is given to your breathing. And you leave feeling rested and restored. Deep breaths involve your abdomen filling full with air. Oftentimes, deep breaths are mistaken with individuals inhaling and their chest puffs out, but this is a shallow breath. In order to ensure you are taking deem breaths and your abdomen fills with air, put a hand on both your chest and abdomen and see which one rises. So, if you feel overwhelmed over the holidays, take a trip to the restroom and take a dozen cleansing-deep breaths. You’ll feel more relieved than you can imagine!

2. Read an Inspiring Book or Listen to Something Inspirational

Because this takes a little bit of time and privacy, this practice is best to do in the early morning, before the start of your day It can be as simple as flipping through your favorite magazines, or reading a book of inspiring and positive quotes. Taking time for yourself to enjoy something and to start the day off on a positive foot can do wonders.

3. Step Outside

According to a study performed in 2011 at the University of Edinburg, people who live closer to nature and are in less urban-confined spaces, have lower cortisol levels. They are able to spend more time outside and usually on a daily basis, more so than just walking to and from their office. Imagine how easy it is to just walk outside your house and walk around the block and enjoy any nature around you. It helps slow things down and helps you become more aware of the little things

4. Choose Laughter

Next time a chaotic family or work situation arises, assume it’s going to happen and choose laughter instead of all the other responses you could have. How many times have you looked back at a situation and wondered why it bothered you so much? All the time! So, with that in mind, instead of responding immediately to something that bothers you, notice it may not be the best response and CHOOSE LAUGHTER. This can help give you perspective and actually just lighten the mood. Laughter helps release endorphins and will help your mood! If it’s hard to make yourself laugh, look up a funny video on Youtube, you’ll be glad you did!

5. Brew A Cup of Tea

This can be done in literally one minute. And the power of a few sips of a warm calming brew
could do wonders, during a time of chaos. Whether it’s black tea, herbal, decaf, or green tea, they all have different wonderful things to offer. Just the simple act of sipping tea helps to pull your mind away from the hard stuff and just helps give it a break.

6. Hug Someone

Several studies have shown that “warm contact” and simple physical touch can actually lower the heart rate and lower blood pressure. This is due to a bonding hormone called oxytocin. So, an easy solution to your stress could be to hug as many family members as you can, next time you see them. Hugging helps fill our basic human need of feeling connected.