The holidays are always a time of stress. Whether it is cooking, or shopping, traveling, weather issues, or family, stress levels rise during the holidays. Even those of us who work in the field of life and stress management see it and feel it.
But there are ways to hack your way through the stress, forcing yourself to slow down, breathe and enjoy the holidays for the awesome time they are.
Keep a routine.
The majority of people in this world live our daily lives by a routine. Sure, we deviate on the weekends and sometimes we sleep in or stay late, but we like routine. We like the predictability. More than that, our brains love it and desire it. in fact, the more routine you have in your life, the more your brain is free to push it’s own boundaries (http://ideology.asia/inspirasian/the-magic-of-human-predictability/). That said, the holidays and all the events and family gatherings have a way to disrupting our lives. That is where a lot of the stress comes from.
So, keep your routine. Go for your morning run. Go to bed at the normal time. Try to eat at the same time. One of the biggest pieces of advice I got while training for my marathon I ran this past summer was to keep the routine. Tie my shoes the same way. Eat the same way. And if you drink coffee in the morning, drink it the morning of the marathon. Your body will thank you.
For half of the country, this could be tough with weather conditions cooling down and getting down-right cold, but your body needs the work. It can be as simple as a power-walk, but getting your blood moving, getting fresh air can do wonders for your stress levels. Don’t’ let your stress build up to the point where you have to get out and exercise. Two thanksgivings ago, I got up early and went for a cold run before the day really began and I plan on doing the same at Christmas this year.
Take a Nap
We rarely get to take naps and when we do, we often feel guilty. But even former Thomas Nelson CEO, Michael Hyatt agrees that daytime naps are beneficial, and in some cases, needed (http://michaelhyatt.com/why-you-should-take-a-nap-every-day.html). When your body is tired, let it rest. And it doesn’t have to be a full-blown nap … even a quick few minutes with your eyes closed can make all the difference in the world for your body.
Do Something for YOU
The holidays are not just about others … it is also a chance and an opportunity for you to relax. Family and work parties are fun, but they are still time and energy commitments. You need to do something for you. I like to spend some time at a local coffee shop without my computer and my phone on silent with a nice latte and a good book. That’s my time. Don’t let anyone take it from you.
Remember, the holidays are meant to be a time of fun, fellowship and family. You will have a hard time enjoying those three things if all you are is stressed. Make a commitment and hack your way to a much more enjoyable holiday this year.