Holiday Stress Survival Guide

We all know that once we’ve made it through Halloween, time flies by even faster than normal. Holiday preparations, dealing with crowds and shopping, encounters with in-laws and an endless supply of less-than-healthy treats can dampen your seasonal cheer. It’s easy to become stressed out during the holidays, but the toll that stress takes on your body is the opposite of a gift. Here are tips to survive the holidays with only minimal stress.

Take a walk
Walking for a half hour a day can decrease stress and help you sleep better. According to experts, the rhythmic movement of walking has a calming effect on the body – plus it might just undo some of the damage from eating one too many holiday cookies at the office.

Give your body the gift of relaxation
Remember that it’s just as important to take breaks as it is to stay focused on getting things done – your body will thank you. One of the best ways to do so is to schedule a massage (P.S. Here’s an insider tip: did you know you can use your flex spending dollars on a medical massage?) to give your body a chance to repair itself, strengthen your immune system, relieve tension and settle those nerves once and for all.

Turn off technology

It’s no secret that constantly checking our phones can be stressful. It’s easier said than done, but try turning off your cell phone for an hour or putting it in another room while you relax, read a book or try one of these brief exercises. It’s also a great habit to get into when spending time with close friends and family.
 

Keep it optimistic
An easy way to break the stress cycle during the holidays is with some good old-fashioned positive thinking. While negative thoughts actually do increase your body’s stress levels, forcing a smile has been shown to improve your mood and make you more capable of handling challenging situations.

Go light (and fruity!) on desserts

Eating more fruits, and avoiding processed sugars or excess carbohydrates, can keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and putting you in a bad mood. Try slicing up some fresh mango or adding it into a smoothie – studies show that mangos reduce stress levels and anxiety and depression.