The holiday season has a tendency to bring on extra stress. Did you know you can prepare yourself for those feelings, and you can overcome them! We often create expectations for how certain events or moments will play out, many of those expectations are generated from previous experiences. It’s important to remember that this year, the holidays may look a little different. If you go into these days knowing that some traditions will need to be a little more flexible, you’re likely to feel better mentally and emotionally. When you take a step back and remember what matters most to you in the grander picture of life, it’s much easier for unrealistic expectations to melt away.
Pack your holiday toolbox with these ten stress busters, and head into the season knowing that no matter what comes your way – you can handle it!
- Eat Feel-Good Foods: Did you know you can reduce stress with food– how great is that?! There are particular foods that can lead to less stress. When you take care of your body, you’re also taking care of your mind. The best way to do that is to eat foods that reduce fatigue and help to keep your blood pressure low. Here are a few to get you started:
- Blood oranges and Clementines: High in Vitamin C, these tasty fruits not only help to keep you healthy, they also help lift your mood.
- Oatmeal: It contains the healthy carbohydrates and fiber needed to boost your serotonin levels for a full three hours.
- Nuts: Stress runs you down, which leaves you open to sickness. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts can boost your immune system with vitamins and zinc – plus mixed nuts are a great party snack!
- Get enough sleep: It’s so important to find balance, especially during the holidays and too much or too little sleep can throw that off. Following a regular sleep routine calms and restores the body, improves concentration, regulates mood, and sharpens judgment and decision-making. You are a better problem solver and are better able to cope with stress when you’re well-rested. If you need help winding down at night, try incorporating Lavender CBD into your evening.
- Exercise: One of the best ways to overcome stress during the holidays or any other time is to exercise regularly. Research shows that physical activity not boosts your fitness and energy levels but can also elevate your moods. In addition, exercise has been found to reduce anger, tension, fatigue, and confusion.
- Mindfulness: Have you ever sat down to eat a snack and five minutes later you’re wondering where your snack went as you’re endlessly scrolling through your phone? It happens to everyone and you can overcome it! From formal meditation to being present in the moment, there are ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. It’s just as important as exercise and sleep, and it goes a long way in helping you handle stressful moments in life. There are plenty of terrific resources available to help you get started, like this one from mindful.org.
- Talk about it: Sometimes just the simple fact of thinking we should feel a certain way when we don’t can stress us out. Know that it’s ok to not feel ok, and be sure if you’re feeling anything beyond a little holiday blues, reach out and talk about it. From friends and family to professional services, talking about problems and sharing emotions can be profoundly healing.
- Practice Empathy: Understanding that everyone deals with stress differently is the first step toward empathetic listening. How often do you ask a friend or colleague how they are doing and hear the response that they are stressed–especially during the holidays? Next time, take a step back and ask if they want to talk about it. Asking questions and listening to one another helps us to put ourselves in others’ shoes. When we give and receive empathy, our brains create oxytocin, which creates a sense of trust and cooperation leading to feelings of belonging.
- Stay Hydrated: Studies have shown that dehydration leads to higher cortisol levels in your brain. This stress hormone makes it harder to deal with everyday issues, often making stress even worse. Drinking the right amount of water can help flush out stress and will likely help to give you more energy too. If you’re not a big water drinker, try carrying a bottle around with you, taking a few sips every 15 minutes. Ideally, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.
- Take Vitamin D: Known as the sunshine vitamin, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get the right amount of this happiness supplement as the days get shorter through the winter months. Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in improving your mood, boosting your overall brain function, and generally improving your well-being. Eating foods that are rich in vitamin D, like salmon, cremini mushrooms, and orange juice (just to name a few), can help your body replace what it may be missing from the sun.
- Simplify Holiday Gift Giving: If there ever were a year to get creative with your gifts – this is it! Set a budget for how much you can spend, given the current economic climate, and stick to it. From gifting experiences to making philanthropic donations, it truly is that thought that counts. If you’re looking for socioeconomic gift ideas – check out the Blooming Botanicals’ Gift Guide.
- Allow Yourself Grace: Try to be patient with yourself and others and don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s ok to feel a little stressed out; if you recognize it and try to find the bright side of whatever situation you’re in, you’re more likely to feel lighter and happier. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.