10 tips to combat stress during the holiday season

With the holiday season quickly approaching, there seems to be a lot of excitement and stress swirling around in the air. While the holidays often bring a mixed bag of emotions, it can also be a time of great stress for many people. Check out 10 tips on how to combat stress during the holidays below.

  1. Set a Budget. Financial stress can be heightened during the holiday season as many people feel the pressure to purchase gifts. Before getting swipe happy with your credit card, set a realistic budget for your holiday season. This will help keep your spending on track and prevent the financial holiday hangover come January when you get your credit card or bank statement.

  2. Get Organized & Delegate When Needed. Get out a good old notebook or use an app on your phone and get organized. Lay out all the events and gatherings you are planning to attend, what you may need to bring to those events, lists of to dos, gifts lists, grocery lists, etc. Once you have everything laid out and organized in front of you, you will have a better idea of what you will need to get done. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate some of the tasks to friends and family members.

  3. Take Breaks. It is very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays. But remember to check in with yourself and pay attention to your own needs and emotions. Are you needing a break from group activities? Do you need to set aside some true down time for yourself? Do you need to step outside for some fresh air and alone time after a group dinner? Be mindful about how you are feeling and be sure to schedule in some break time from the hustle and bustle.

  4. Learn to Say No. If it’s not a “hell yes” then it is a no. Be real with yourself and only attend gatherings and events that actually excite you. Saying no to things that are not important to you allows for more space in your life for things that are.

  5. Maintain Your Sleep Routine. Our schedules are usually all over the place during the holidays and our normal routines often suffer as a result. But maintaining your current sleep routine is crucial. Having a consistent sleep schedule and prioritizing sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Try to maintain your current sleep routine the best you can to avoid getting yourself into a sleep deficient or throwing off your normal sleep schedule.

  6. Continue Exercising. Exercise is one of the most underused forms of stress relief. Not only is exercise amazing for coping with stress as it releases those “feel good” hormones in the brain, it can also play the role of some much-needed alone time during the holidays.

  7. Mind Your Meals. The holidays are a time where many of us indulge in our favourite foods. Preparing food is also a way that many of us show our love to our family and friends. But this is also a time where we are usually having things that are not in our everyday diet. Be mindful of the foods you are having and how they make your body feel. Excessive amounts of sweets, treats and desserts spike our blood sugar which can negative impact our stress levels. It is okay to treat ourselves, but be mindful to balance it out with lots of veggies, healthy fats and adequate protein.

  8. Limit Your Alcohol. Alcohol intake often increases during the holidays, which in turn can negatively impact your stress. Alcohol may make you feel more relaxed in the moment, but in reality, alcohol has been shown to increase our stress response and increase anxiety levels. Be mindful of your alcohol intake during the holidays and if you are ever using alcohol as a way to cope with stress – reach out to a member on your healthcare team for support.

  9. Don’t Forget to Hydrate. Whether it is the holidays or not – the majority of the population is dehydrated. This adds physical stress onto the body. Staying hydrated ensures that our body is functioning optimally in all areas.

  10. Reach Out for Support if Needed. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling anxious or stressed over the holiday season. If this is the case, be sure to reach out to a member of your health care team for support. You and your health are the most important thing and you deserve to feel good.

Dr. Denise Patterson, ND
Instagram: @drdenise.nd
Facebook: @drdenise.nd

Note: This blog entry is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute practice of naturopathic medicine or other professional healthcare services including the giving of medical advice. No doctor patient relationship is formed. Use of this material is at user’s own risk. Readers should not disregard or delay obtaining medical advice for any medical conditions they may have and should seek assistance from a trusted medical care professional for any condition. This blog entry does not speak on behalf of naturopathic medicine and does not represent the profession as a whole.

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