How to manage stress during the holidays

Two weeks away from Thanksgiving and you can already feel the stress of the holidays coming on. Even though the pandemic threw everything for a loop last year and was stressful being in lock down and not being able to travel to see family. This year it is lifted, however the holidays, even though a fun time, can always wreak havoc on the sympathetic nervous system where tempers are short and patience are thin.

Which is why I think it is really important to have a good stress management plan in place for the holidays.

As women over 40, mothers, daughters, wives, colleagues, business women, caretakers our default mode is people pleasing and giving of ourselves to others. The holidays are no exception and are even more demanding on us.

I am big on creating boundaries and now is a good time than any to start.

Here are a few ways to create boundaries:

1) Organize and make a to do list of everything that you have to get done for the holidays (cook, bake, shop, wrap, etc)

2) Put all the to do’s on a calendar

3) Carve out at least 30 min a day on “me time” or at the very least 1 hour a week – “me time” is only slotted for the things you like to do for yourself (bath, exercise, read, message, etc)

4) When someone asks you to do something and you are booked on your calendar, say no – of course if you are available say yes, but ONLY if you are available after your to do list and your “me time” are on there

5) Your calendar will be your bible for the next 6 weeks – don’t stress over having to be strict on the times, just keep this as your roadmap

6) Talk it over with your family to make sure they are aware and respect your boundaries

Here are other ways to manage your stress in this holiday season:

1) Make sure to get enough quality sleep each night – have a nighttime wind down routine (no that does not involve wine either…lol). But what it does involve is turning off the tv and phone at least 30 min to an hour before you go into bed

a. In fact having a glass of wine before bed might get you to fall asleep but your blood pressure will rise and so will you during the night. Trust me on this one!

2) Eat whole nutritious meals and lower sugar and processed foods – even while you are baking and cooking for parties

3) Keep an exercise routine

4) Drink plenty of water, especially when you are out shopping. Keeping hydrated can help keep your stress levels down

5) Go for a brisk walk

6) Meditate and breathing practice

The holidays should be a relaxing and fun time of the year, be sure to have these tips in handy when you feel a little stress or anxiety coming on and wishing you all a wonderful holiday ahead!!

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