The holiday season can be incredibly stressful! Many people often feel overwhelmed by the pressure of buying gifts, decorating, shopping, cleaning, cooking, and hosting family and friends. Seasonal stress is much more common than we think and can lead to real issues with both your mental and physical health.
On top of the worry and stress caused by the silly season, the dark winter months can also impact our psychological well-being. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is caused by the lack of light during late fall and winter and can result in feelings of depression, lethargy, and irritability. SAD can cause you to overeat, lose your temper more easily, experience feelings of hopelessness, and disrupt your sleep.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure that you keep your sanity and don’t get overrun by stress and depression during the holidays. The team at Live Infinitely has come up with some great ways to stop seasonal stress and help you to enjoy this special time of year.
Keep Yourself Active
One of the best ways to beat the winter blues and shake off stress is to maintain a regular exercise routine. Getting out and about during the day will help to boost your serotonin levels and improve your mood. Exercise gives our body a rush of endorphins, which help us to feel more positive. You could take up a winter activity like skiing or ice skating or simply schedule a regular morning walk.
Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
Stress causes our nervous system to fall into a state of overdrive that makes it difficult to relax and wind down. Lack of sleep will exacerbate feelings of stress and depression. Ideally, you should be getting between 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, everyone has a different sleep cycle, so there isn’t a one size fits all solution to stress-related insomnia. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your likelihood of a good night’s sleep.
Try dimming the lights before you go to bed. This helps your brain get ready for rest. Deep breathing techniques can also help to calm an overactive mind and prepare our bodies for sleep. If you are having real trouble falling asleep, you can try a herbal remedy such as valerian, lavender, or magnesium.
Have Something to Look Forward To
Many people find that making plans helps them to battle feelings of stress and depression. Organizing catchups with friends, scheduling weekend activities, or even just planning a time to watch your favorite show can help you cope with feelings of being overwhelmed. Just remember to not overdo it!
Set Yourself Reasonable Goals
Make sure you set yourself achievable goals. We all want to have the perfect home for a Christmas party, find the ideal gifts for our partners and children, and cook a delicious festive dinner. However, perfection is usually not a realistic goal. Don’t expect too much of yourself and don’t attempt to take on too much.
Maintain Good Nutrition
Stress and depression can wear out our bodies. Although it is always tempting to overindulge during the holidays, eating healthy foods will help you to maintain your energy and stay positive. Try and eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon or walnuts. Keep up your vitamin D levels with orange juice, tuna, or mushrooms. Most importantly, make sure you are getting all your vitamins and minerals by keeping to a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Schedule Time for Yourself
While we run around trying to please everyone, we often neglect to put aside time for self-care. Scheduling some you-time can help you to de-stress and cope better with difficult situations or busy times. Take some time to relax in a hot bath, quietly read, or listen to soothing music. Meditation is also a fantastic tool to calm the mind and release tension from our bodies.
Although the holiday season can be frantic and busy, we hope these suggestions will help you avoid stress and get the most out of spending time with your family and friends.
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