Monday, December 6, 2010

Best Ways to Reduce Stress at Christmas

My best way to reduce stress and relax is to do Pilates or Yoga -- which I intend to be doing in 15 minutes! But exercise isn't everyone's best way to reduce stress. Here are a few ideas to help you relax...

Best Ways to Reduce Stress at Christmas

Enjoy a blast from the past. Humor and stress management expert Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant has a ton of unique stress busters up her sleeve! She recommends “blowing bubbles, hula-hooping (which also burns off calories and tones the core at the same time), bouncing on a mini-trampoline while working through problems (it reminds your body and mind that resiliency, the ability to bounce back, is important and often easy), and using a funny handshake when arguments are getting nowhere.

Practice acceptance. Here's a great way to have a positive attitude at Christmas, from my "Quips and Tips for Spiritual Seekers" blog partner, Gini Grey: "Instead of balking at holiday rituals or grimacing in the presence of your least favorite relative, try accepting the situation or person as they are and notice how your mood improves," she says. "Acceptance is simply acknowledging what is instead of resisting reality. It moves you out of judgment and into a place of peace and calm." 

Get enough sunlight – even in winter. If you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the winter blues, make sure you’re getting enough light, even if it’s indoor. Consider buying a light box, or research natural ways to lighten the winter blues. Vitamin D and melatonin are both stimulated by sunlight, and they both play roles in improving mood and facilitating sleep. Sunlight can reduce the effects of holiday stress and improve your mood.

Let go of your expectations. Don’t tie yourself down to a particular outcome: giving the best Christmas gifts, having the most beautiful holiday decorations, or cooking the best ham and turkey dinner. The best way to reduce stress at Christmas is to be open to all possible outcomes. Remember that sometimes even the worst possible results or situations can turn out to be better than the ones you originally wanted!

Take time to reconnect with who you are, or your source of strength. If you’re spiritual, make time to connect with God or the source of your spirituality. Stop to say a quick prayer or meditation during your crazy Christmas shopping or decorating rush! Make it a priority to connect to the source of your power – don’t lose yourself in the Christmas craze. Even if you don’t believe in religion or spirituality, take time to ground yourself by spending time alone. This will help make Christmas meaningful.

If you find yourself depressed at Christmastime, read Christmas Depression? 5 Tips for Overcoming the Holiday Blues.

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