There are numerous well-known sources of holiday stress – too much work, too many calories, too many guests, too many miles to travel, too little money. Identifying when you feel run down or overwhelmed, or even anxious is crucial for effective stress management. When you acknowledge or figure out what your stressors are, you can then take the necessary steps to reduce and avoid them.
4 Less-Obvious Stress Sources:
- Skimping on sleep. Who can sleep when there’s so much to do! If you have this mentality, you won’t perform at your peak and your stress level will continue to build. It can be tough to do during the holidays, but having a regular sleep schedule and going to bed at the same time every night can be really beneficial. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.
- Missing meals. If you’re skipping meals you’re going to be low on energy. And without energy, you can’t tackle your to-do list nearly as effectively. No matter how busy you are, keep your diet well-balanced with a combination of healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables – such as oatmeal with nut butter for breakfast, fruit and a one-ounce cheese serving for a snack, an avocado and turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread for lunch, and fish with a sweet potato for dinner.
- Staying away from the sunshine. The cold weather may make you want to be inside, but you need to find time to get outside during the day. It’s vital to get some fresh air and to see the sun – which is a major source of vitamin D (which helps regulate your mood). Go for a quick walk around your neighborhood.
- Feuding with your family. Not only do you need to take a break and get outside, but during the holidays you may also need to take a break from your family and friends – that might be increasing your stress level. Set aside 15 minutes each day of alone time. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.