Despite the fact that December is a month filled with love, laughter and celebrations, it can also be one of the most stressful months of the year. Work deadlines to meet, holiday shopping to do, dinner parties to prepare for, out-of-town friends or family to entertain, obligatory functions to attend, more toll on the wallet…and not to mention the darker, gloomier weather. Ugh. If you weren’t stressed before reading this post, I bet you are now! haha
Well, let me share some uplifting tips on how to alleviate stress any time of the year, especially now.
Breathe | Take a deep breath in…and release. Take another deep breath…and release. Visualize yourself breathing in the good stuff and exhaling all the bad stuff. Feels good, doesn’t it? Repeat until you feel more relaxed and your chest feels less tight.
Cuddle | It’s proven that cuddling, hugging, kissing, and other acts of physical touch increases oxytocin levels, which reduces stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. So grab your cuddle buddy and improve your health!
Eat Well | The foods you consume play a huge role in how you feel, physically and mentally. Fill your tummy with superfoods like leafy greens, berries, salmon, avocado, and some dark chocolate too. Avoid sugar, gluten, and processed foods, as they could result in mood swings or irritability, and that’s no fun.
Exercise | Gotta love those endorphins! Just a quick 15-minute workout could change your whole mood. Turning to fitness is 100x more effective and productive than turning to comfort food to ease your stress. You come out feeling accomplished, happier, energetic, and more fit!
Gratitude | List 10 things you’re grateful for each day. There is always something to be grateful for, literally always! List the people, things, opportunities, and blessings that you’re grateful for. Remember to show yourself some appreciation too, you deserve it. You can even show gratitude in future-tense to attract them into your life!
Laugh | Watch a funny video, browse some memes, read some jokes, let your friends entertain you… laughing out loud can instantly ease your stress. Learning to laugh at yourself helps too! Life should never be taken too seriously, ever.
Listen to Music | Blast your favourite tunes, sit back, and enjoy…or sing and dance like nobody’s business. When you’re feeling down or stressed, play music that will lift your spirit. My go-to music is EDM and I’ll use Spotify or YouTube to search for playlists to boost my mood or pump me up for a happiness-inducing workout.
Meditate | Practicing mindfulness can do so much for your soul. Learning to be completely still while focussing on deep breathing forces you to feel nothing but relaxed. I am still learning how to be better at this, and the challenge lays in getting my mind to calm the eff down. One guided meditation app that I really like is “Stop, Breathe & Think”. Check it out, it’s free!
Reach Out | Never ever face your struggles alone, that can be very toxic for yourself and those around you. If you’re feeling upset or unhappy about something, reach out to a friend, family member, counsellor, furry companion, stuffed animal…anyone! Let it out and don’t be afraid to confide in someone. People appreciate when you keep it real. After all, we’re only human.
Treat Yo Self | I’m a firm believer in pampering yourself (aka: self-care) and that can be done in many different forms – take a bubble bath or do a face mask, book a spa treatment (double-win if you book an RMT and have it covered by extended health), treat yourself to a nice meal, buy yourself something you’ve been wanting (without breaking the bank and causing financial stress), or lay in bed watching a movie. You deserve to be pampered and it’s healthy to learn how to care for yourself.
Unplug | We are so glued to our phones and computers all day long, and there is so much happening on social media that we don’t often get a chance to slow down and just be present. Turn your phone on ‘DND’ – disconnect from the world to connect with yourself. Go for a walk and really take in your surroundings. You’d be surprised at what you notice on routes you take everyday!
Write | Another way to release is to write in a journal. This is your safe place to share every nitty gritty detail with guaranteed zero judgement and zero interruptions. Letting it all out on paper is a way to release feelings you’ve been holding on to. Be sure not to approach it as a way to get all frustrated again, rather think of it as a healing process.
With that, I hope that you got a few take-aways to help get you through the hectic holidays. Like I said, life shouldn’t be taken too seriously. We are incredibly blessed to be on this earth and often times we get so caught up in emotions that we forget to see the big picture.
If you have any stress-reducing techniques you’d like to share, I’d love to read them in the comments below.
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy holiday season!