As everyone knows, stress can do harmful things to your body. Stress can cause weight gain, diabetes, and can also lead to heart disease. The holidays can add unwanted stress to already busy lives. We want the holidays to be about spending time with loved ones and celebrating; it shouldn’t be something you dread. This holiday season, learn how to destress with these simple tips:
Have you ever noticed that you feel better after getting a work out? That’s because exercise releases endorphins in your body. The Mayo Clinic explains, “Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.” These endorphins can help change your mood and also can provide more energy. That’s right… it may seem counterintuitive, but exercise actually helps provide natural energy to your body. This holiday season, if you feel frustrated or stressed, take a 30 minute break from your activity to exercise. Take your children for a walk around the park or neighborhood to look at holiday decorations. Leave them with a responsible adult and hit the gym. Whatever you decide to do, getting your blood pumping can actually help your body destress. It may even give you the energy you need to tackle the rest of your to-do list!
Don’t forget about yourself! You may be spending hours shopping for other people, wrapping gifts and cooking. Sometimes when we become so focused on others, it can be easy to forget about ourselves. According to Brown University, stress can trigger a fight or flight response. Those who become angry or act out during stress (fight response) may benefit from deep breathing techniques or meditation. Those who have a flight response might become withdrawn or depressed. Activities that may improve a flight response include rhythmic exercise or massage. Either way, developing a self-care routine can help counteract your response to stress. Taking time out of your day to think about yourself can help your body get back to normal.
Remember that we are all just human, even during the holidays. Don’t put too much on your plate this year. (This is meant both literally and physically, as stress can cause overeating as well). If you are feeling overwhelmed, learn how to renegotiate your plans. Can you share the cooking responsibilities with a loved one? Outsource your gift wrapping? Hire a someone to clean your kitchen? Remember to set boundaries for yourself and not to take on too much. No one can do it all; don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Here at Complete Care Health Centers, we always have your best interests at heart. And since stress can be bad for your hearts, it is important to us that you stay calm and collected this holiday season. Remember that our providers are always here a phone call away for more stress relief tips.