Simple tips to reduce holiday stress

By | November 21, 2013 | Health & Wellness

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The holidays add stress to our lives. It’s important to learn how to identify different stress signals, so we can handle or simply avoid the needless effects of stress.

Irritability or short temper – You might overlook this signal, but it’s one that our loved ones can easily identify. If you find yourself giving short responses or becoming irritated over nonsense, chances are you’re experiencing the first signs of stress.

Difficulty sleeping – If you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night or looking at the clock every 30 minutes, you’re experiencing signs of stress. This is certainly one of the most common signals, especially during the holidays. During a rough economy or during difficult times, in general, it’s difficult to sleep because we have a hard time shutting down our thoughts. When you can’t sleep well, it ultimately leads to insomnia and irritability.

Overindulging – You might turn to comfort foods during stressful situations. If you find yourself reaching for the chocolate cake, candy, salty foods, alcohol and/or more cigarettes, this is a sure sign of stress.

Body aches – When you’re stressed, your body might ache and you’ll feel sore all over, as if you ran a marathon. Your body is a wonderfully made machine. If you allow your body to experience lack of sleep, increased irritability, or lack of proper nutrition, it’ll give you signals that something is wrong.  Allowing stress to take over will also make you susceptible to illness. The last thing you want during the holiday season is to be ill.

Here are a few simple tips you can implement to avoid the signals, or symptoms of stress mentioned above.

Pace yourself. All too often we want to get all our projects completed in one day, which of course, is unrealistic. By scheduling one to two tasks per day you’ll be less stressed. Take your time and enjoy the season. Don’t try to decorate your entire home in one day or try to mimic the decorations you see in home décor magazines. After all, many of the displays seen in magazines were put together by teams of individuals not just one or two people.

Ask for help. As simple as that sounds you might be surprised how many people try to do it all on their own. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually a very smart decision. If your children are old enough, get them involved, as well as asking your friends for help.

Learn to say the magic word. The magic word is “no.” If you find it difficult to say the magic word, try this phrase that I use: “I simply can’t say yes to your invitation (or request)” and while saying this phrase be sure to wear a smile. You’ll be surprised at the reaction you receive, since the person asking will be expecting a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Practice that phrase, you’ll be amazed at how easily it works.

Learn to relax and remember the true meaning of the season. Teach your family members the same. Consider a new tradition of watching Christmas movies throughout the season complete with hot chocolate and popcorn. The holiday season brings craziness upon the calmest of folks. Don’t be swayed into purchasing high priced items. Consider simple board games and homemade items.

There are many more ways to avoid the holiday stress but, of course, it all begins with you. Enjoy this glorious time with your family and friends, and most importantly, slow down.

How do you avoid stress during the holidays?

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Dr. Daisy Sutherland

Dr. Daisy Sutherland is the Founder/CEO of Dr. Mommy Online. She is a doctor, author, mentor, speaker, wife & mom to 5 children. Dr. Mommy's mission is to Help Busy Women and Men with her 'Get Real' approach to living a happier and healthier lifestyle. She is also the author of Letting Go of Super Mom.

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