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9 Self-Care Tips for the Holiday Season

9 Self-Care Tips for the Holiday Season

An astounding 69 percent of Americans report feelings of increased stress during the holidays. In fact, the stress level can get so high that 45 percent of people would prefer to skip Christmas and other related holidays altogether. If you are part of either of these statistics, it is wise to start thinking about self-care and how it can help propel you through the next couple of months.

Although it’s true that you may feel more demands on your time right now than usual, this doesn’t make self-care less important. In fact, it’s more vital than ever that you schedule some time for yourself. Here are a few suggestions to help you take better care of yourself during the holidays.

1. Set Aside Small Blocks of Relaxation Time

Right now, you might be thinking that there’s no way you can carve out any alone time until after the holidays. But have you considered how useful a mere 5 to 10 minutes can be? Listening to music you enjoy during this time frame can reduce your stress by as much as 61 percent. Reading is even better because it offers a 68 percent stress reduction in only six minutes. Therefore, short breaks can be very meaningful and provide you with the emotional respite you need.

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2. Take Yourself to a Show

Is your favorite band coming to town? Or perhaps there’s a musical you’ve always wanted to see? Now is the perfect time to treat yourself! You’ll only need to devote a few hours to this form of escapism, but the benefits can last for days. Off-Broadway tours have become increasingly common, which has led to this industry having its highest grossing season ever. Broadway shows are certainly more expensive than doing something commonplace such as going to the movies, but the overall experience of dressing up, going to the theater and becoming lost in the show will be well worth it.

3. Spend an Evening Coloring

Adult coloring has been a huge hit for more than a year now, and there’s a good reason for this; coloring helps people de-stress. There is also evidence that adults who color are able to develop more mindfulness and increase their ability to focus. The best part is that there are thousands of adult coloring books available about virtually every topic imaginable. Whether you want to color cats, scenes from Harry Potter or something related to any specific holiday, you’ll be able to find an applicable book.

4. Don’t Rely on Alcohol

It’s well-known that many people turn to alcohol to help them get through the holiday season. On the surface, this might even seem like a good idea. But the reality is that alcohol is a depressant, so having more than a glass of wine or one beer could actually make it much harder for you to cope with holiday stress. Take proper care of yourself by avoiding alcohol so that you don’t end up with the holiday blues.

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5. Sleep, Exercise and Proper Nutrition Are Key

Exercising for 30 minutes a day is a great way to reduce your stress and improve your ability to sleep. Stress often makes it difficult to sleep, so it’s easy to see how exercising can benefit you in multiple ways. This is especially true when you consider the fact that a lack of sleep will affect your mood, memory and judgement skills. Proper nutrition has a positive effect on your mood, and it can make it easier to deal with the physical demands of the holiday season.

6. Get a Massage

Massages are known as great stress relievers, and they can also reduce or eliminate tension headaches. In most cases, a massage lasts 60 minutes, which provides you with a safe haven from all of the stress and worries of preparing for the holidays. Many people become so relaxed during a massage that they fall asleep, and deep tissue work will release your tense muscles. This is definitely a good way to give yourself some self-care because no one will be able to contact you or bother you during your one hour session.

7. Use Something Cold to Boost Your Mood

Believe it or not, taking a cold shower has been proven to reinvigorate people, and it also has a positive impact on mood and stress levels. Of course, many people don’t want to get through the initial shock of being in freezing cold water. The good news is that you don’t have to go that far to get relief from stress. Instead, simply take a rice bag or wrap that you would usually heat up for pain relief and put it in the freezer instead. When you begin to feel stressed out, wrap the bag around the back of your neck. This provides a quick soothing effect that can help you instantly de-stress.

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8. Don’t Say Yes to Everything

Are you dreading going to multiple holiday functions? Although you probably feel like you have no choice, the truth is that you can decide to say no to some things. If you want, you could even say no to everything. Ultimately, your mental health is worth much more than forcing yourself to say yes to everything simply because it’s the holiday season. Choose carefully where you want to expend your emotional, mental and physical energy. Perhaps this means going to Thanksgiving dinner but skipping a Christmas gathering. The most important thing is to avoid becoming burned out or extremely stressed because you’re overburdened with commitments.

9. Take a Long Weekend for Yourself

Even if you choose to attend every possible holiday function and put your own needs on the back burner for a couple of months, you can still bring your stress level back down by giving yourself a long weekend after the holidays are over. Your weekend could be spent doing anything from watching movies in your pajamas for three days to booking a remote cabin in the woods. Either way, allowing yourself to have some personal time and space will help you start off 2017 on the right foot.

There are many additional simple ways to reduce stress, ranging from taking a walk in the woods to shutting off your smartphone for an hour. The most important thing is for you to be aware that these methods can be very beneficial self-care techniques that will help you get through the holidays. Be sure to start putting your preferred methods in place right now to prevent your stress level from elevating unnecessarily.

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Featured photo credit: martinak15 via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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