The author of Martinis & Menopause, Kelly Jaecks talked about 10 simple things you can do to be stress-free this holiday season. Click here for more information about Kelli.
Stress Buster #1 Let it Be, Let it Be. We all need quiet in every day. Take time for you; carve it out with force, if you must. What is your favorite way to find quiet? Prayer, meditation, or just pausing in the shopping mall parking lot and staring out the car window are some of the ways many de-stress. Even being aware of your breathing for 5-10 minutes a day will help calm the stress. The next time you get in your car, say this to yourself: I am at peace | I am enough | I will have a positive day | I am grateful
Stress Buster#2 Work it, Girl. When days get busier, it’s easy to negotiate away your exercise so that you can get more tasks done. DON’T. To make it easier to show up to the gym, schedule workout times in your calendar as if they’re real appointments that you can’t miss. Be specific, and plan accordingly. Walk the stairs during your lunch hour! Stop by the gym on your way home! Pack gym clothes the night before so you are ready to hit it after work. Find a workout buddy and commit to a weekly neighborhood walk. Is it raining? No worries! Download an app and head to your basement for some sweaty fun! (The two apps I use are Sworkit, and YogaGlo)
Stress Buster#3 — Break-it Up Baby! Your to-do list can feel overwhelming. Look at your tasks and ask yourself, “What is a small task I can do today to feel some relief?” Perhaps while you’re doing the laundry, you can also get the guest sheets and towels ready for your out-oftown guest’s Christmas visit. The next time you’re at the grocery store, spend ten extra minutes gathering the items you need for that upcoming family dinner. As you check-off each task on your list, the reward center in your brain lights up and releases dopamine, which lifts your spirits.
Stress Buster #4 Turn that Frown Upside-Down. Connect with that friend that makes you laugh! Watch your favorite comedy, listen to a feel-good podcast. If all else fails, smile. The act of smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, actually lifts your mood and sends messages to your brain of lightness, hope and positivity. Try it!
Stress Buster #5. Say Hello to Mother Nature. Go outside for a few minutes- whether your season is sunny and hot, rainy and dark or white and cold, exposing yourself to the outdoors daily serves as a re-set for your brain. Breathe the air, think calm thoughts, let the outdoors rejuvenate you.
Stress Buster #6. Hydrate. Increasing water intake can boost the metabolism and your spirits. Experts are now recommending that you drink half your body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, plan on drinking 90 ounces of water a day. Buy a water bottle, decide how many times you need to fill it each day and commit to drinking your weight in H2O! It’s the new normal – Drink up!
Stress Buster #7. Stand up Straight. Poor posture can lead to muscle tension and pain. Throughout the day, do a posture check. Sit up straight and put your shoulders back. For more relief - try learning the mountain pose from that yoga video you’ve been watching. (See Stressbuster #2) Your mother was right - it not only looks better, it will make you feel better.
Stress Buster #8. Play! Playing reduces stress, boosts our immune system, and helps us cope with the busy season. Play can be games and enjoyable activities with your friends, children or yourself. Indulge in live theater, pick up an instrument, dance in the kitchen. Being playful keeps your spirit light.
Stress Buster #9 Just Say No. Boundaries on your time gives you energy for living your best self. Beware of overscheduling. It’s OK to spend an evening relaxing so you can re-charge and hit the next day refreshed. Give yourself permission to say no, and take care of yourself instead. What will you say no to?
Stress Buster #10 — Just Say Yes! Yes, to activities that bring you joy, yes, to more laughter, yes, to more hugs with someone you love. Reward yourself. Too often during busy times we forget to do the things that make us smile. Take in the sights and sounds of the season, enjoying them in the moment. Say yes to taking good care of yourself!
So there you have it. Ten steps to help you make it through this season like the boss you are. Here’s to busting stress and having a healthier, happier holiday season - however you choose to celebrate.