7 Tips to Avoid Carrying around Physical Stress, Psychological Stress, and Weight Gain in 2020



Tips to Avoid Carrying around Stress and Weight Gain, Psychological Stress, Physical Stress




You either love, hate or love/hate the Holidays. We search for the perfect gift for our friends, family, partner, your child's teacher, and the clerk at your favorite grocery store. We go to Christmas parties with the mini brownies and mini cookies. Dang those mini pastries that try to fool you into thinking they have less calories. We visit people we have not seen all year long. Man, we are busy. Fun right! No. Actually you get stressed in these situations and if it becomes a chronic stress issue, your body can suffer lasting effects past New Years.

When your body becomes stressed, physical and psychological effects happen at the same time.  You may have symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, a persistent feeling of urgency, headaches, backaches, stomachaches, and being irritated - all of this in December. Pepto-bismal, Rolaids,  and over-time in January. The good news is that you can do something about it before it becomes a runaway stress train.

The following 7 tips will help to take the stress out of the holidays for you so you enjoy your time with your family and friends. If this article adds value to your day - do me a favor and share it on social media with the share buttons located on the left-hand side of the screen. Thank you!

Get Organized

During the holidays your schedule gets crazy, I get it. According to organizeyourlife.org,  "One of the most important benefits of organizing your space is reduced STRESS." Here are some suggestions of organization that will help you to get through your holiday stress free.

Try a calendar for scheduling your family's activities. This will not only help to make sure you are at the right fundraiser on the right day but also can alleviate unnecessary family stress. Everyone's activities are scheduled for the month and laying it out like that a head of time will give you time to adjust it if necessary. Activities suggestions for your calendar could include fundraisers, family arriving and staying at your house, airport pick-ups, school plays and time to work your side hustle. If and when you have to schedule something last minute you can be sure you're not double booking yourself. Imagine what it would look like if you had your calendar for the month in front of you and your family's schedule is written out for the month? Are you smiling right now?

Other ideas include organizing holiday wrapping areas by using containers or old coffee cans to hold loose objects, pens, scissors, and large Tupperware for wrapping paper and bows. Keeping this area organized will keep stress levels down the next time your neighbor comes over and you realize you forgot to wrap their gift. Also, keeping a few extra gifts on hand for unexpected visitors will save you that awkward moment when you remembered you forgot to get a gift for your sister-in-law, gee and everything was going so well. One last organizing tip which helps me to keep it organized during the holidays is to pull out my cooking recipes a head of time and make a shopping list. This will make your food shopping trip take less time and you will save money that you can spend at the Kitchen boutique specialty store. New products to better utilize your time of course. wink wink.

Don't stop working out/start working out

Take time to take care of your body and your body will take care of you. It is important to keep up your exercise routine. Stress can quickly over whelm your body during the holidays leaving you feeling fatigued and off balance. If you absolutely cannot make your normal Thursday Yoga class because you only have 45 minutes, then, go for a jog or a walk.  Walking and jogging both help lower stress, get your circulation going and good circulation leads to better heart health, bone density increases, and a boost to your Vitamin D, which both aid in preventing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is when bones become porous leaving your bones fragile and vulnerable to fracture and breaks.

If you lean more towards free weights, keep a small group of free weights and sand weights under the bed, in your home office or the garage? 3-4 sets at different weight levels will take your workout to another level. You could also use Resistance bands which strengthens bones and tones muscles. There are plenty of health and exercise subscription websites where your level of subscription gives you perks such as unlimited views to the companies library of 30 to 60 minute workouts. Depending on your home wireless set-up you can view them on your TV or tablet. Set up your home equipment and your good to go!   

If you are starting a new workout regimen during the holiday season, keep your expectations realistic. If you had four business meetings today and 3 clients meetings and will be Holiday Shopping and then going to dinner at your friend's house you may not make it to the gym, so 45 minutes of brisk activity will still go a long way in making you to feel better and lower your stress levels.

Realistic expectations of what you want the holiday to be

There are going to be moments where you feel your sanity slipping away during the Holiday season. Your daughter won't wear the dress you bought her or your son made cross eyes in the family Holiday photo and you didn't realize until your Mother-in-law called.  Maybe your boss signed you up for overtime because you "don't have kids"? WTF I still have plans! While you're counting to ten, remember that it helps to have a realistic expectation of the holiday. What is your idea of the perfect holiday. What does that look like for you? Perfect may be that your kids didn't through food at Grandma during Christmas dinner or that you remembered to water the Christmas tree (haha not like last year!).
Try this (Close your eyes and say I am doing everything in my power to make this the best holiday ever and exhale the stress) Having a realistic expectation will help you to retain your sanity during the Holidays. For example. I went to a friend's holiday event and my friend asked her sister not do dye her hair the day before the event and family photos. The sister agreed but had her hair dyed anyway and it came out Magenta instead of red. My friend wanted to rip her sister's face off at first but then changed the way she thought about the situation and wasn't as angry. You can only control yourself everyone else is a wild card.

Keep citrus handy

Aromatherapy has many benefits such as promoting sleep, relieving stress, and creating an overall healthy environment. They affect our mood because they affect our brain chemistry. The essential oils turn into a gas once they are released into the air by the diffuser. Once the gas enters your nose it comes into contact with your nose hair and a nerve impulse is sent to your brain. Your brain chemistry is altered and the altered state causes a mood change.

What do you think of when you smell citrus (Close your eyes and take a minute to think about this) What comes to mind? Clean, bright, airy,  warmth, awake, get moving, go go go to name a few. Using aroma therapy can help with the winter blues or Holiday stress train. In an interview with Prevention.com, Barbara Thomley, lead coordinator for the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic,  “With any citrus smell, lessened anxiety always seems to emerge as a benefit.” Turn on your diffuser when you get up in the morning or while you're getting ready for your date. If you're on the go, there are other options. You can use a roller ball perfumer, they are great for travel because they can fit into anything,  and you can take them anywhere. If you want to try a tasty treat, add fresh squeezed citrus juice and fruit to your water which not only tastes good, smells good, but adds nutritional value to your day.

Sleep

We lose so much sleep during the holidays getting in last minute shopping - for your third cousin, baking cookies and pie, visiting friends, and going to holiday parties. It causes forgetfulness, dark circles under your eyes, poor eating habits, it ages your skin, gives you an overall lack of energy, and can lead to heart disease and over time, contributes to and aggravates symptoms of depression. Sleep is a necessary part of our daily cycles and it effects processes in your body such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cortisol levels. Lack of sleep does your body an injustice and is preventable. The following tips will help you to get regular sleep and feel less stressed during the holidays.  According to healthfinder.gov, " Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.", "Teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.", " Babies need to sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day (including naps)."

Keep a regular sleep schedule. This may seem like an obvious one, but during the holidays, we are more likely to say "the heck with it, I haven't seen ... in a while. One - If it is on TV - DVR it. Two - If it is your besty from second grade - make it for tomorrow. She will understand.

Don't overdue the Alcohol. Holiday parties and cocktail hours are a lot of fun and let's face it you don't have to cook dinner, but it can be easy to overdue the liquor in your jolly state of mind. It is the one time of the year that we say "the heck with it!" but I bet you didn't know that alcohol actually reduces the amount of REM sleep we get. Also, you don't want to remember that you had a crazy moment in a supply closet with someone you work with. UGH! Take my word for it don't overdo it!

It is important not to skip wind down time before bed. Try engaging in some relaxing activities such as playing a board game with the kids, decorating, baking cookies, watching a movie, as long as your relaxing it doesn't matter the activity is.

Keep Your Sanity

This one may be easier said than done. Sometimes you have a situation where you made sure everything was perfect. The mood, the lighting, the decorating, food presentation, even the Yule Log is playing on TV. Then, someone crosses the line, for example, maybe your Mother-in-law gives you an I told you so about the napkin rings or your Sister-in-Law just fell on your blow-up Frosty the snowman because she's drunk...again, or your husband's best friend from high school peed in you planter ...again. Now, you may say sanity is overrated but let me just tell you,  Even if they just annoy the living crap out of you -- their family and, sometimes you have to just give them a pass. I promise your sanity will thank you later.

Enjoy
Remember to enjoy yourself during the busy holiday. We forget to slowdown, enjoy, and engage in social connectedness. The NYTimes.com reported that " In ... a study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1984, researchers ... found that among 2,320 men who had survived a heart attack, those with strong connections with other people had only a quarter the risk of death within the following three years as those who lacked social connectedness." So maybe even though your busier beyond belief during the season take time to spend, valuable time with loved ones and make some memories. Watch them open gifts, take them to the movies, have that cup of coffee with your neighbor. Happy Holidays!

Leave a comment below let me know what ideas you've tried. I would love to try them. I hope this post added value to your day, if it did hit subscribe, located up top on the left. I sent out newsletters and updates.

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