We all know that the holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time of year to see family, eat, drink, and be merry. So why has it turned into this monster of stress and anxiety over the years? Who’s family do we spend it with? What do we buy your sister? She wants WHAT for Christmas?? I need a whole bottle of gin to get through this meal…You get my drift. 

I am here today to help YOU have the most enjoyable holiday season yet-how?! By helping you find ways to not get stressed and anxious about all the holiday cheer.

Below are my top 5 ways to find some release during the holiday season-let me know your favourite in the comments!

EXERCISE, LAUGH, MEDITATE

Physical activity is one of the best ways to combat stress and anxiety. It lowers your body’s stress hormones, helps release your endorphins, improves your quality of sleep, and boosts your confidence, who doesn’t need a bit of that?! Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s a spin class or a meditative walk, yoga— and make it part of your routine. 

As for exercising, I like to do that with friends and with friends comes laughter and it’s almost impossible to feel stressed when you’re laughing! Laughter can help relieve stress by relaxing your muscles and reducing your stress response (just like exercise!). So get together with friends that make you laugh, watch a funny movie, or do something that makes you belly laugh – and feel the stress melt away! 

Meditation. Bit of a crazy segway from laughter, right? But it is a phenomenal way to quiet the mind and get rid of the critter brain that some events can create. Mindfulness is a mental state in which you focus on yourself, your surroundings, and your actions. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking, which in turn reduces stress.

Try mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, yoga, or meditation when you feel the stress creeping into your life. There are a lot of apps out there to aid you in this.

REDUCE CAFFEINE INTAKE

Say what?? You want me to cut down on my lifeblood?? We get it, scary doesn’t even cut it to explain what this does to most people. Everyone loves a daily cup (or 3) of coffee, chai, or tea. However, high doses of caffeine can increase anxiety and make you feel jittery or anxious. Admit it, you’ve been there. 

We’re not suggesting that you cut it out completely…just be mindful of your intake. Could this be part of your mindfulness practice? You’ll see a difference, promise!

AROMATHERAPY

I use oils in all aspects of my life so it is no surprise to anyone that I use them to help me get through the holiday season. I tend to use woody oils to support my stress response and anxiety like Vetiver and Cedarwood. Lavender, citrus, and bergamot are particularly effective at alleviating both, as well. (Plus, they smell amazing!) Try diffusing a few drops or applying directly to your skin (ONLY pure therapeutic grade oils please! And dilute).

LEARN TO SAY NO

While many stressors are out of your control, some are not. One way to take control of the parts of your life that are causing you stress is to say ‘no” more often. Saying “yes” to everything and taking on too much can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Be selective. It may be hard to do at first but think about it this way-who really wants to be around a stress head? Pretty sure people would rather you honour yourself and your mindset by just catching up with them AFTER the holiday season. 

FOR A QUICK FIX, SQUEEZE HERE

Take a look at your hand. See the squishy place between your index finger and thumb? This is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. If you start feeling overwhelmed by the holiday stress just apply pressure to the hoku spot for 30 seconds to reduce stress and tension in your upper body. How cool?!

Finally, my bonus suggestion!

WORK WITH A HEALTH COACH 

A Health Coach works with you to help you identify what your personal health and wellness issues are, how they affect you and those around you, and develop strategies to overcome them. They can help you reduce and manage your stress more effectively by helping you change your mindset and behavior (and by extension, improve your life). If you feel called to work with someone, please let me know and I can help point you in the right direction. 

If you are dreading the holiday season because of all the craziness that comes about, try a few of these suggestions and let me know how you get on. 

We should all be able to enjoy the holiday season, not dread it every year. 

Post written by Sarah Byrnes

Sarah is a Holistic Lifestyle Coach melding health and life coaching, essential oils, and yoga to empower Mamas to find vibrancy in their lifestyles again after children. She empowers them to realise that they, too, matter. Take her hand, Mama, and let her guide you back to you. You can follow along here http://www.instagram.com/sarahbyrnewellness 

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