I love, love, love Christmas but there is no denying the fact that it is a stressful time. I have to really take care of myself. Already, my neck is feeling sore. (That’s the area where I carry my stress.)
Stress is a killer. It can lead to inflammation throughout your body, triggering the onset of a number of undesirable health conditions. It also attacks your emotions and mind, which can lead to neurological disorders, emotional eating, detachment from friends and family, anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, stress happens to everyone. That means you need to know how to deal with stress effectively. Consider the following 5 practices during this stressful season, and stress will have a minimal negative impact in your life.
1 – Meditate/Pray
Effective meditation has been proven for centuries to reduce stress and anxiety. There are plenty of free and paid meditation resources online to help you get started. Remember that you don’t have to be in a particular physical environment or area to meditate. Your time investment can be minimal as well. Close your eyes, calm your mind, focus on your breathing and in just a few minutes you can feel the stress slipping away.
Prayer is an effective way to focus your mind. It doesn’t have to be complicated or scary. Even the slightest whispered prayer, lingered over, can lead to feelings of calmness.
2 – Change Your Environment
If it is possible to leave your stressful situation, do so. Take a walk. Get outside in the chilly sun. Read a few pages of a book or watch a funny video. (If you have young people in your home, ask them where they find funny videos) Sometimes your environment is causing your stress, and even just 5 or 10 minutes away can help your situation.
All you need to get done will still be there when you get back!
3 – Treat Your Body Right
Sometimes your stressful situation is your body’s way of telling you that you are unhealthy. This means eating right, less fast food and processed food items, and more fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and berries. Get some exercise as well, at least 3 to 5 days a week. Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest, and drinking lots of water.
During the holiday season in particular, it is so easy to practice bad habits. Unless you have dietary reasons not to, don’t be afraid to have a Christmas cookie or a piece of holiday candy. Just don’t have 10 of them!
4 – Create a Stress-Free Zone
You know your environment can sometimes dictate your mood. Create a nurturing place at home. Keep it simple, with as few objects and possessions as possible. Add pictures and music that soothe you and make you happy. This is a place where you can mentally reset your emotions, minimizing the impact of stress.
Mine is a blue, overstuffed chair with a reading lamp and a small table beside. When I’m sitting in the blue chair, it’s chill time. Don’t even try to aggravate me because it’s my stress-free zone.
5 – Look at Things Objectively
I get it. I know what it’s like to try to juggle kids, everyone’s wants and requests, a household, a job and, and, and…… It can be a nightmare trying to manage it all.
But consider this: Your stress is not always as full-blown as you think you is. Human beings sometimes have a tendency to over-exaggerate a situation. Look at your circumstances as if you were a nonjudgmental outsider. This allows you to identify the real cause of stress, and then you can act accordingly.
Will the world spin out of its orbit if you don’t get all the decorating done? Nope. In fact, you’ll be grateful you have less to do when it comes time to put it all away.
Prioritize the big things, like family time and special traditions. Small things need to be done with great love. If you’re too irritated or stressed out and CAN’T do things with love and gentleness, then simply don’t do them.
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