How to Reduce Stress Over the Holidays

Everyone knows that stress levels go up over the holidays. There is so much to do, in addition to the demands of work, that people feel they never have enough time. They get caught up in the race, and as a result, the holidays become a time of frustration, affecting our mood and work performance, rather than the warmth and joy that they should bring.

So, to help bring a little relief back into the holiday rush, here are a few simple things that you can do to relieve the stress a little and get yourself more on an even keel for the holidays.

1. Know when to say no.
This is true at work and at home. If you already have too much on your plate, it is just madness to accept even more. You have to learn to say no nicely. Just explain that you don’t have the time, that you are already maxed out.

2. Get rest
Don’t cut out sleep because you need time for other stuff. This is counterproductive. Lack of sleep can lead to all kinds of health issues, to say nothing of how it hampers your cognitive function. If you have a lot to do over the holidays, you need to be mentally sharp to get it all done. Get enough sleep, at least seven to eight hours. No excuses.

3. Accept help
If cannot do it all yourself, don’t try. Enlist family and friends to give you a hand.

4. Breathe
Breathe, of course you breathe! But this is a different kind of breathing. This is controlled breathing meant to relax you. For example, breathe in deeply and slowly, focusing on the air moving into your body. Then breathe out just as slowly. Do this four or five times when you are feeling particularly stressed. You will be amazed at how this will help calm you.

5. Keep tabs on your expectations
Often, the holidays end up in disappointment because we expect too much from them. Be realistic, and try not to let your expectations get the best of you.

6. Don’t eat or drink too much
The motto to follow here is, all things in moderation. It’s all too easy over the holidays to overindulge, and feel awful later because of it.

7. Laugh

8. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are, after all, only human.

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