Holiday stress doesn’t need to overwhelm you. With a little planning and some simple action steps done daily, this holiday season could be your best yet!
Rather than waiting until the shopping, parties, family gatherings push you to the breaking point, we can proactively minimize the toll that holiday stress can take. When we stop and interrupt the stress reaction for short moments many times a day, it doesn’t get a chance to build up to the point of overwhelm.
Start your day with gratitude.
“How you start your day sets the foundation for the next 24 hours.” I am honored to have my quote featured as a “Women on Fire 2019 Quote to Live By.” Every morning we have a new opportunity to set the foundation for the day ahead. When we start our morning grabbing our phone to catch up on the news and all that’s wrong in the world, we can almost guarantee that it will not be a peaceful day. Instead, when we start out day with gratitude, we at least give ourselves a positive foundation by flooding our bodies with serotonin and dopamine, the happy hormones! “Something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism, and it holds for the next six months. The research is amazing,” Harvard researcher and author Shawn Achor has told Inc.com.
Like any habit, it takes consistent action to cultivate the gratitude habit. The easiest way I have found is to keep a journal and pen by your bed and first thing every morning, writing down 3 (or more) things you are grateful for. They can be big things like “I’m grateful I got a raise” or “I’m grateful my new grandchild is healthy”, or as simple as “I’m grateful for a good night’s sleep” or “I’m grateful I’m learning to control my holiday stress.” Join my free “Gratitude 365” group to help cultivate your new gratitude habit.
I share many different breath techniques in my book “Goodbye Anxiety, Hello Freedom” because they are so simple and they work! One of the simplest and most powerful is to bring your awareness to your breath and think “I’m breathing in, I’m breathing out” and repeat, repeat, repeat! Imagine standing in a long line of grumpy shoppers, doing this and feeling your holiday stress melt away! Click here to learn more breath techniques.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein. When we plan specific time for shopping, wrapping presents, baking and more, we feel more in control and less stressed, When we plan our budget for holiday gifts, we are less likely to overspend and face January with buyer’s remorse.
Listen to music.
As I was writing the last paragraph, I had to put on “Be Prepared” from the Lion King soundtrack! As a former celebrity radio DJ, I know the benefits of putting on some of my favorite music, turning it up really loud and dancing around. But don’t just take my word for it. Researchers found one song that reduced participants stress by up to 65%! I will sometimes listen to this if I am having trouble sleeping.
Shake it off!
While you are listening to some happy and upbeat music, do like Taylor Swift sings and shake it off! Animals naturally do this: if a rabbit is being chased by a coyote, when it gets to safety, it literally shakes their whole body, resetting their nervous system. Have you ever noticed your cat or dog do this? The next time you feel really stressed, stand up and shake it off and notice how much better you feel.
Simply taking a few moments many times a day to practice these super simple techniques can lower your holiday stress so you can actually enjoy the holidays!
Originally published at StephanieDalfonzo.com