Chronic stress affects functions at all levels, and what is particularly worth noting as we wind our way through a review of this topic is that regardless of the system under consideration” – Meaney, M. PhD 2001.
Our stress response whether chronic or acute is the same. Imagine you’re out for a walk and a lion attacks you – HUGE flight or fight response. Well, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc is the same response just at a lower level but over a longer period – this is not a healthy way to live!
So, to get on with the post – here are six ways to cut your stress down this holiday season.
1. Repeat after me – “This year does NOT need to be perfect!”
Now sigh with relief! You don’t need the perfect fairy tale holiday – in fact – trying will stress you out beyond belief – there is no way to make all these people happy – just make a plan and stick to it!
2. Stick to a Budget
Don’t buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: donate to a charity in someone’s name, give homemade gifts, or start a family gift exchange. Remember the reason for the season and everything else won’t matter. Need further proof? Try naming off the gifts you received two years ago.
3. Plan Ahead
Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting, and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list to prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. Make sure to even plan and line up party prep and clean-up help!
4. Learn to Say No
Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. It’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime so try and remove something else from your agenda to make up for lost time.
5. Figure out what it would take for you to arrive at Christmas morning or night totally calm and relaxed.
Depending on your family, network, and support group, share responsibilities with others.
– For example, if you go to the store and pick up some of your neighbor’s gifts, they’ll stay home and make cookies for both of you.
– If you’re hosting the holiday meal, ask others to bring something specific. (No – “whatever you want”)
– Allow others to share in the fun of giving! Don’t hog it all yourself!
6. Don’t abandon healthy habits!
– Don’t let the holdiays become a free for all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
– Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese, or drinks.
– Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
– Stay on top of your chiropractic checkups – with the bad weather and stress – you need to stay healthy!