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How to Remain Stress-Free During the Holidays

holidayThe holidays are here!  I haven’t met one person who doesn’t love this magical time of year.  The seasonal food, the decorations, the parties, the music, the shopping, you name it; it is magical.  I love decorating my house and enjoying family traditions.  The cool air (thank goodness), festive holiday lights, the CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!! But have you ever noticed that during this awesome time of the year, you are also finding ways to manage holiday stress??

It happens.  So much shopping to do, so many invitations to events, classroom parties, our OWN parties, holiday baking, gift wrapping…we are over scheduled, stretched financially, over fed, and by the end of it all, over tired of all of our favorite people!  We start to stress and freak out and stress some more and all of a sudden it is New Year’s Day.  What happened to enjoying our favorite time of the year?

What if I told you that you can enjoy this time of the year, all the while managing stress effectively?  Would you want to know how to do that?  I know I would!  And that is why I am going to share 10 ways that you can manage holiday stress without losing your perfectly wonderful mind.

10 Tips to Manage Holiday Stress

1. Eat Real Foods

We all should be eating this way throughout the year, not just the holidays.  Eat your vegetables, your pastured meats and your healthy fats! Don’t miss out on bone broth and fermented foods to help your gut and your digestion.  Give your body the nutrients it needs to function at its highest level so you can effectively manage holiday stress!

2. Magnesium

Would it surprise you to learn that most of us are deficient in magnesium?  Magnesium is a mineral that we need and can help the body handle stress.  I have three favorite ways of getting magnesium.  One is to take an magnesium bath.  The second is to use a magnesium powder as a tea. The third is to use a magnesium oil spray.  My whole family takes magnesium in some way to help us maintain optimal wellness, sleep well, and deal with stressful situations.  Try it and see if it helps you!

3. Maca

Ever heard of Maca? Maca is a root grown in the Andes Mountains. It is an adaptogen, meaning it supports the adrenal glands and helps the body deal with stress. It also supports the endocrine (hormone) system and is a great for boosting energy.  It is is usually sold in powdered form. I love it in smoothies and it can also be added to many desserts, beverages, and yogurt. It pairs nicely with chocolate flavored things!

4. Drink Water!

Feeling stressed?  Have a nice big glass of water (purified water, of course).  According to WebMD, even one glass of water can help decrease your cortisol levels (i.e. your stress hormones).  Being dehydrated can put added stress on your body.  There is no reason to add even more stress this time of year!  Drink that water!!

5. Essential Oils

I LOVE essential oils.  I am constantly diffusing them in the air, ingesting (quality, food grade) oils and rubbing them on my body.  One of my favorite blends for calming is called Stress Away; it is perfect for reducing stress, anxiety and tension.  It can promote relaxation and peace.  Try it and see if it works for you!  There are so many other essential oils good for reducing stress such as lavender, ylang ylang, lemon and frankincense.  You can find out how to order quality essential oils here.

6. Sleep

Don’t forget to sleep!  Your body needs sleep.  This is when your body recharges and refreshes itself.  Without adequate sleep, your body will not be able to recover from stress.  Lack of sleep can also lead to sugar cravings and weight gain….not so great for the holidays!  Get to sleep early enough each night so that you can effectively manage holiday stress!  I mean, no one wants to be cranky during the holidays! amiright?

7. Exercise

Get out there and move your body!  Exercise has been shown to help reduce stress by increasing your endorphins (your feel good neurotransmitters) and helps you forget about the stresses of the day.  It can improve your mood, help you sleep better and make you feel healthy all around.  Some forms of exercise, however, can be stressful to the body.  Long duration, steady state exercise (i.e. running, elliptical, etc.) can cause more stress on the body.  So, when it comes to managing holiday stress, try to some high intensity, short term exercise instead.  Or a brisk walk where you alternate fast walking and slow walking.  I LOVE CrossFit, but that is a post for another day!

8. Meditate

Do you meditate?  Do you zone out once in awhile and go to a calm place? I will admit that I have a very hard time sitting still for meditation.  However, there are numerous ways to get it done.  You can try yoga for a nice meditation and exercise combo.  There are also plenty of apps and websites to help you.  One of my favorite apps right now is the CALM app.  Check it out and see if that helps you meditate at all!

9. Just say NO!

You do not need to say yes to every single thing that comes up at the holidays.  You are allowed to say no.  Don’t feel bad.  Don’t feel selfish.  Saying no to things you really don’t want to do is one of the most freeing changes you can make!  I started doing this in 2015 as part of my New Year’s resolutions and man does it feel good.  Say no!  Take care of yourself.  Spend time with your family and enjoy those traditions that you have worked so hard to establish!  

10. Reflexology

Have you tried reflexology?  It is great for stress and tension reduction.  You can even perform it on yourself!  And if you have loving family that want to pamper you because you have been baking those awesome cookies all day, perhaps they can do it for you!

There.  Do you feel a little better now?  Hopefully these tips showed you just how easy it is to manage your holiday stress by simply taking care of yourself.  I know this is a very selfless time of year.  But when it comes to your health and well-being, be a little selfish.  Be a LOT selfish actually.  When you take care of your body, you will be able to move through these holidays with grace and ease.

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