“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
The holiday season is a time for joy and peace on earth… But, you are definitely not feeling calm and it has been hard to keep the peace at home and work with everyone’s stress levels so high.
You are busy at work but somehow expected to decorate the house, shop for a billion family members and friends, bake cookies for the cookie swap, keep the house looking immaculate, attend 10 Christmas parties and concerts and prepare a fabulous Christmas feast.
How are you going to get it all done while staying sane at the same time?
It is possible, and no, a divine intervention is not needed.
What can you do to survive December and make it into the New Year?
Change your perception. Stress is defined as, “a perception of a threat or danger to our physical or psychological well-being, and the perception that the stress is beyond our ability to cope.” It is not WHAT happens to us, but our RESPONSE TO what happens, and response is something we CAN CHOOSE. Yes, there are way too many things to do this month, but, if we can break it down, focus on one task at a time and not let ourselves get caught up in the frenzy; then we can get through it all without freaking out and losing our minds.
Set realistic goals. You don’t have to make your own wreath, knit the stockings for the fireplace, design and print your own Christmas cards, and create a Christmas playlist for each party you are hosting. It would be great to do all of that, but if you are burning yourself out in the process, no one will be having fun if you are totally exhausted and snapping at everyone.
Outsource. Delegate tasks to family members and friends. If you have the funds, have a party catered, hire a house cleaner for December, and/or shop online. Ask for help when needed.
Make a list, and check it twice. Ask everyone what they want for Christmas to make shopping less stressful for you. Stay organized by writing down what must be done. You can even create a weekly schedule leading up to the holidays to get everything done on time.
Learn to say no. Don’t take on more tasks than you can handle and don’t be so hard on yourself. If you can’t make it to every Christmas party you are invited to, you are not going to be shunned from your social circle.
Take a mini-relaxation break. Take 10 full and deep abdominal breaths. Close your eyes and visualize lying on the beach or in a place where you feel calm and relaxed. Soak up the sounds, sights, smells and sensations in that place while you breathe fully. Be mindful with what you are doing in the moment and don’t get caught up with negative thoughts. Get outside and go for a short walk. Meditate. The possibilities are endless!
Keep your blood sugar levels balanced. When our blood sugar levels drop, cortisol, the stress hormone, is released to free up glucose from the liver. This increases feelings of anxiousness and irritability. Eat a balanced breakfast followed by small meals or snacks every several hours. Get healthy sources of protein, fiber and fat with each one. Make a smoothie for breakfast with hemp protein powder, berries, almond milk, and ground flaxseed. Or, add hemp protein powder to your steel cut oats in the morning. Snack on hummus and veggies, Ryvita crackers with almond butter or on raw walnuts and almonds with an apple or pear.
Get a good night’s sleep. Those that were sleep-deprived were shown to have an increased stress response during the day. Sleep is a time for the body and mind to rest and repair, and if we don’t get enough, our stress hormone levels are going to be thrown off.
Sweat (not the small stuff!). Exercise clears the mind, boosts mood and reduces stress levels significantly. It also aids in a restful sleep! So go to that spinning or yoga class, put on your runners and go for a jog, or dance to a favourite cd or playlist.
With a shift in perception, attitude, and expectations, and with some lifestyle changes, it really can be, “…the most wonderful time of the year”!
See your Naturopathic Doctor to support you with appropriate herbs, nutrients and homeopathic remedies to reduce stress levels and feel your best during and after the holidays.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.