During the holiday season, it’s easy to get stressed out. You’ve got a lot extra on your plate that you wouldn’t normally have- a large shopping list, travel plans, holiday work load (especially prevalent at my work), and more. If you are like me, you think about all these things at once and think, “How in the world can I get this all done?” But that’s the first problem, is thinking about all these to-do items at once. While it can be helpful to have a to-do list to keep organized, looking at it all at once can be overwhelming. For example, this holiday season, not only did I have all the holiday plans to attend to, but also I had to move. I had to prioritize my list and get that out of the way first. Needless to say, I saved all my holiday shopping to the last minute, but at least I got the most important thing out of the way. It was extremely stressful, though, and I’m currently at home sick because of it- did you know that around 90% of illness is caused by stress? To save you all some holiday stress, I’ve put together some tips that I use to relieve stress. Read more to find out what these are!
5 Ways to Relieve Stress:
1. Write Everything Down- This is a tactic I use year round, not just around the holidays. However, it is very applicable during this season. With so many items to accomplish in one season, how could you remember them all? I recommend writing everything down- from a “To-Do List” with more general tasks such as “Move” and “Christmas Shop” for me, to more specific lists like who I need to shop for and what I need to do to complete the move.
2. Practice Yoga or Meditation- A while back, I published a video on my personal Facebook page about the benefits of practicing yoga. The link to the video is here. The video states that “yoga is not just a hobby or something that you practice on the side, this is real biological stuff. You are really changing the activity of neurons in the brain… you are changing functions within the body at the cellular and even the molecular level.” One of the main takeaways I got from the video is if we learn practices and breathing through yoga or meditation, we can more easily apply those outside of the classroom/session and into our daily lives in stressful situations.
3. Allow Time to Do Nothing- This is probably what I find the hardest. I find that I can relieve some stress when I mark things off my To-Do List (see #1), so I keep going until all those things are done. But truth is, this can be counterproductive if you don’t take time to relax in between. I am always go, go, go, but when I do the result is burnout and that is physically your body telling you it needs rest. So why not avoid this is in the first place? I like to take a bath with some essential oil. That’s my version of doing nothing 🙂
4. Compartmentalize or Schedule Tasks- Running a full time job and a blog AND trying to manage added holiday stress? How is that possible? I find that focusing on one task as best I can helps out a lot. For example, on normal days, I schedule time to read the news (I read theSkimm) before I even answer my emails. Then I focus on only work related tasks during the day. After work is done, I workout then head home to work on my blog. Sounds like a lot of tasks, but that is what works best for me. Often times having it not scheduled creates more stress for me because I think “When will I have time to work out?” or “What happened in the world today?” Leaving these questions unanswered is terribly stressful, so I manage them by scheduling a little time in the day to devote to them.
5. Check in with Yourself and Be Grateful- This goes hand in hand with meditation and being mindful. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to check in with myself more. How did you feel when you did this many tasks in one day? How can I accomplish more without inducing crippling stress? Being grateful also comes in to play because it’s important to thank your body and others for helping you accomplish all that you do. With more gratitude, there will be less things that you will force your body to do and less things that you will feel the urge to do. This will allow your body to recover, stay healthy, and be able to accomplish more in the long run. It’s all about balance, as I like to say.
I sincerely hope this helps you all with managing not just the stresses of the holiday season, but also the stresses of everyday life!
Photos: Jordan Zobrist