Tips to Minimize Holiday Stress
By Doug Bennett, Staff Writer
We all know the feeling. Summer ends and the days feel shorter. Leftover Halloween candy is barely gone and stress begins to build. Holiday party invitations stack up. Roads, parking lots and shopping aisles are jammed. Gift ideas feel
tired and unoriginal. And, the checking account is running on empty.
The winter holiday season can really take its toll on everyone. It’s
time to turn the tables and recapture the joy with a few simple strategies to help
minimize holiday stress.
Stress Busting Tips That Will Keep You Cool, Calm and Collected
Don't allow this holiday season to become another vague generic memory filled
with more material goods and debt that no one needs or wants. Embrace new
traditions and set this holiday season apart by volunteering with those you
love to help others who are less fortunate. This will help make the world a
better place while also building new memories that both you and your
family/friends will look back on with fondness.
Stay aware of
Remind yourself throughout the day to take deep breaths, exhale long and slow,
and count to ten anytime you feel stress levels rising. Try it—it really works!
Tip: Place post-it
notes anywhere you tend to experience stress—phones, steering wheels, doorways,
computer screens—as reminders to keep things in perspective. With a little practice and consistency, this
technique will go a long way toward helping you manage stress during the
holiday season and throughout the rest of the year.
foundation: Remain vigilant about staying on track with diet, exercise, and
- Get routine
exercise, even if it’s just a ten-minute walk with the dog each day. If you
can’t make it to the gym, just get up off the couch and get moving. Consistency
is more important than intensity or time spent exercising.
- Protect your mind
and body with the restorative benefits of sleep by going to bed and waking at
the same time each day. Again, consistency is key.
- Eat a healthy,
balanced Mediterranean-style diet. There are many fad diets out there that will
help jumpstart weight loss goals, but Mediterranean-style diets are tried and
true for the long haul.
Tip: Try not to
eat more than the equivalent volume of a fistful of food during each meal and eat
more frequently throughout the day. Six small
portions are better than three full plates of food. This will help control
spikes in blood sugar and enable your body to burn calories more efficiently
throughout the day. If someone gives you a dozen cookies, try one and give the
Shop online: If gift giving
during the holiday season brings you more stress than joy, shopping online will
go a long way toward alleviating the added stress. These days just about
anything can be purchased from the cozy comfort of your own couch. Most
retailers have streamlined the process, making it much easier and more efficient
than shopping at the mall. Shipping is often included in the price, and return
processes are simple and straightforward.
Tip: Be sure to
shop online only with reputable companies that employ best practices for
protecting your sensitive credit card information.
Virtual visits: With winter
weather, flights are often delayed or cancelled, roads are snarled with
traffic, and icy sidewalks can be treacherous. Avoid all of that stress and still
get to see and hear your loved ones by taking advantage of technology. Novel
video chat apps like Facetime and Skype enable you to connect with family and
friends at the touch of a button—just like something right out of the Jetsons!
If you were an early adapter and found these apps to be clumsy when
they first emerged years ago, try them again. The technology has improved in
recent years and the apps really can help eliminate the stress from feeling
like you need to be in ten different places at the same time.
Tip: Avoid last
minute headaches by scheduling your “virtual visits” in advance and ensuring
others have the same app and latest version already installed on their computer
Pull the escape
Traveling over the holidays to warmer, sunnier destinations can really liberate
you—at least temporarily—from the zaniness of extra obligations and associated
stress we often feel at home. Better yet, make it a volunteer vacation so you
can escape seasonal stress while also helping make the world a better place.
Now sit back, bask in the warm glow of holiday cheer, and savor the
true blessings and joys of the holiday season! And, don't be afraid to reach out to your recruiter for some encouragement. While the holiday season can be stressful, know that the work you do in healthcare facilities across the country is the type of giving that never goes out of style.