Head Off Holiday Stress Before It Trips You

RidingcarouselUnionSquare11-09The one thing we all have in common is exposure to stress.

If managing the day to day operations of your life is not enough, add overseeing your employees or following the wishes of your boss, dealing with suppliers or pleasing customers, patients or guests and handling holiday stress.

If your stress remains unchecked you have a formula for destruction to your nerves, blood pressure and general health. Ignoring stress or pretending you’re not vulnerable makes you the perfect unprotected target for a stress-related breakdown. To avoid becoming disabled by stress become proactive.

There are four things you must do.

1. Start your day in a relaxed state by getting plenty sleep. This differs for each of us, but many experts seem to think that about six to eight hours is average.

If you suspect that you have a sleeping disorder, investigate it with your doctor or a sleep professional. Take the Sleep Test at http://www.sleepnet.com/

2. Break up your day to allow for relaxation, even if it’s just listening to your favorite soothing music midday or meditating. Working nonstop is overrated.

Take a relaxation break to facilitate the transition between work and home at the end of the day.

3. Exercise. I once thought exercise was important just for weight loss and physical health. Since I spent hours indoors writing a book last year, I realize that physical exercise is essential for my mental well-being as well.

Don’t wait until you think you have time to go to a gym or buy a treadmill. Walk around your block at least 3 times a day. If you can’t manage that, surely you can get up and walk around the house during TV commercials. What’s important is to move. Use it or lose it holds true with your body and mind.

4. Put things in perspective. We are good at making ourselves stressed by dwelling on every problem, and creating some along the way.

During the holidays many of us pile on too many additional tasks and go to great lengths to pull off over-the-top parties and dinners. We often overspend and overeat, only to dwell in upset and regret later.

  • How about deciding to enjoy the holidays with simple activities you enjoy. I love carousels, for example, so on Thanksgiving weekend while visiting my oldest daughter we went for a carousel ride in San Francisco.
  • Give more gifts of time and joy instead of material things.
  • Beware of feeling pressured to be with relatives if it’ll mean you end up more stressed
  • Decide which activities you care most about and let the others go.
  • Find a way to laugh. Watch a comedy that you find hilarious.
  • Put on your favorite holiday CDs and dance around the house as you go about your day.

Be proactive in preventing holiday stress from overtaking you and will enjoy a calm you may not have even realized you had and truly enjoy the season from beginning to end.