Holiday stress can get the best of us. While the holidays should be a joyous time when you get to spend time with loved ones, the chaos of planning for them, on top of the busy lives we already lead can be enough to leave anyone feeling frantic and overwhelmed. During this time of year, you may be neglecting your own needs due to the long list of to do’s that comes with the season, but why not change that this year?
Here are some practices that will help reduce your stress, and lead you to feeling jollier this winter. The best part? These practices do not take up a lot of time, so they can easily be incorporated into your busy holiday season.
1. Practice daily gratitude – Start each day or end each night with three things you are thankful for, after all they say gratitude is the best medicine. This will help keep you present and put things in perspective when you start to feel overwhelmed.
2. Create a holiday to do list – The more prepared we are, the less stressed we usually feel. Use this time to plan out all of the things you have left to do for the holidays, and organize those to do’s in a way that is manageable. Don’t wait until the last minute to do these things either. Instead try doing 1-2 things a day, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family or friends. After all, it is the season of giving.
3. Take 10 deep breaths – Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, stop yourself and take 10 long deep breaths. You may want to breathe in “peace” or “calm” and breathe out “stress” or “panic” as you breathe in and out.
4. Commit to making it to a yoga class once a week – This time on your mat will help center you and allow you to forget all those holiday stresses for an hour. It will bring you back to the present moment and may even help you see things more clearly. Sometimes we stress over every little detail, when in the end those little things aren’t as big of deal as we make them out to be in our heads. If yoga isn’t your thing, opt for another workout class that brings you back to your center. Despite all of the to do’s on your list, giving yourself this hour class will likely help make you more productive throughout the week.
5. Pick a stress mantra – Whenever you start to feel stressed, choose a positive phrase like the ones below and repeat it 3 times. This will help calm your nerves. Use this stress mantra whenever you start to feel overwhelmed. Even if that’s multiple times throughout your day for the entire holiday season, that is OKAY! Some ideas:
•I choose to think positively, even in stressful situations
•Stress is leaving my body and I feel calm
•I see stressful situations as positive challenges
6. Feed your soul – Choose to do something over the holidays that will truly feed your soul…Maybe it is volunteering your time at a homeless shelter or donating gifts to a family in need. We get so caught up in the holiday stress that we forget what the holidays are truly about, GIVING. Doing something like this will surely put the things you are stressing about in perspective, and remind you about what is truly important – family, loved ones, giving, community, and helping those in need.
7. Add adaptogenic herbs to your day – Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and holy basil help your body adapt to stress. You can find them in powder or tea form. Start and/or end your day with them to calm your nerves and relax you throughout the holiday season.
With a little plan of action, the holidays don’t have to be stressful. In the midst of it all, don’t forget to take care of your well-being. The better you take care of yourself, the more present and there you can be for your loved ones around this holiday time.
Britt Martin is the founder of Fitbrittnutrition, a Holistic Nutrition Consulting company based in LA. She is a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Yoga Teacher who is passionate about teaching her clients and community how to nourish their bodies and live more holistic lifestyles. She considers herself a health-foodie who aside from holistic nutrition and yoga, loves hiking, cooking, her dog-child Logan, and traveling as much as possible. Follow her on Instagram: @fitbrittnutrition