The holiday season is in full swing, and you’re starting to feel the effects. Between hosting your first Thanksgiving, navigating the mall to snag those Black Friday deals, and putting in extra hours to meet your end-of-year deadlines, you’re starting to feel a bit burnt out.
As magical as the holiday season can be, this time of year can also bring on a great deal of stress. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. In fact, according to the New York Post, a survey conducted by Slumber Cloud found a whopping 35 percent of respondent’s experience “holiday burnout” before Christmas. And 68 percent reported the holiday season to be a stressful time.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry; you’re not doomed. Here are 7 research-backed tips to de-stress and bring back the holiday spirit!
1. Develop a Mindfulness Meditation Practice
One of the best ways to reduce your stress is by tuning in and practicing mindfulness. Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a “meditation guru” to be mindful. At the end of the day, mindfulness is about paying attention, being aware and focusing on the present moment.
One study found that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – including sitting meditations, simple movement exercises, and body scans – decreased emotional exhaustion, stress, anxiety and occupational stress among employees.
If you find yourself stressed out this time of year – particularly in your work environment – it may be worth taking a few mindful moments to yourself throughout the day. Try taking a meditation break or unplugging from your electronics to be in the present moment. Ready? One, two, three…breathe.
2. Get Moving
We know that exercise is good for our health, but did you know moving your body may also help reduce some of that holiday stress?
One study found that regular exercisers are more resistant to the emotional effects of stress, which may prevent them from developing chronic stress-related diseases. There you go: another reason to rally your crew and sign up for the annual Santa Run!
3. Get Your Downward Dog On
With New Year’s around the corner, here’s one resolution you definitely want to keep: making it to your weekly yoga class. Studies have found that yoga has been proven effective in reducing stress, anxiety and even depression among women.
Look into finding a studio in your local community, attend a yoga workshop with your BFFs, or get your downward dog on in the comfort of your own home with virtual fitness apps like FitOn.
4. Keep a Positive Outlook
Does the holiday season bring out your inner Worry Wart, taking stress levels to an all-time high? Bust out those positive affirmation cards, feel-good mantras and pictures of cute puppies! Turns out, practicing positive thinking – through imagery – can decrease stress, anxiety and worry.
5. Prioritize Healthy Sleep Habits
Are you getting enough sleep? During the holiday season when you may be more prone to burnout, it’s important to prioritize healthy sleep habits. And a recent study found that stress awareness is associated with shorter sleep duration. Beat stress burnout by going to bed a bit earlier and limiting electronics (and other distractions) as you wind down at night.
6. Pour Yourself a Cup of Tea
If you’re living off holiday Peppermint Mochas, you may want to switch to tea. Go for a low-caffeinated green tea, which may reduce stress and improve quality of sleep. Win, win. Plus, tea is the perfect cozy accompaniment to your favorite holiday movies!
7. Spend Time Outside in Nature
Baby it’s cold outside, but you don’t want to stay cooped up inside all winter! In fact, recent research published in Frontiers in Psychology
has shown spending as little as 20 minutes outside in nature can help lower stress hormone levels. Head to a local park, go for a hike or play in the snow with your family!
What are your favorite ways to manage stress this time of year?
Note: These suggestions are meant to act as a guide. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider when implementing any drastic changes to your diet or healthcare routine.