Four Simple Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress
December is one of the most stressful times of year due to the end of the business year, holiday shopping, social gatherings, and the never ending darkness. It is important to take care of yourself during this hectic time and find healthy ways to relieve your stress so you can make it one piece to 2019.
Release Those Endorphins
Exercise is easy, natural way to increase your endorphins, the neurotransmitters that control your mood. According to the Mayoclinic,”regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.” On top of that, exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by more than just sugar plums dancing in your head.
Sticking your regular exercise routine will help you make sense of this extra busy time of year. Getting to the gym at the same time each day will help anchor your schedule. Fortunately, at TS, you can book all your classes online on our website so you can schedule your entire December in one shot!
Since the holidays are filled with post-work happy hours and parties, we recommend working out in the morning when you know your schedule will be clear. Otherwise, last minute plans can derail your routine. Plus having an early workout session is an awesome excuse to exit an awkward social event early when you rather just lounge on your couch.
Avoid Stress Eating
The holidays are a festive time and many social gatherings are food focused. We’ve discussed how to eat properly through the holidays, but an added benefit of eating (relatively) healthy besides sticking to your nutrition program is that you will keep your body operating in tip top shape. When you’re stressed, you may have less willpower to turn down highly processed foods that are full of sugar and carbs. These types of foods quickly move through your system, ultimately giving you a sugar crash, leaving you lethargic.
Try filling up on complex carbs like oatmeal, whole grain cereals, vegetables, beans and fruits. These foods will help your brain develop the feel-good hormone, serotonin, which will decrease your feeling of stress. Including moderate amounts of healthy fat from avocados, nuts, and fatty fish, also will improve your mood. As the days get shorter, you spend a lot less time in the sun and receive less natural Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial to the immune system so incorporate foods like eggs, wild salmon, and mushrooms in your diet to make up for the lack of sun exposure. You can also include Magnesium supplements to help alleviate anxiety.
Get Some Sleep
Hibernating like a bear may not be an option but making sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night will help you feel as strong as Yogi. When you rest for less than the optimal 7 hours, you incur what is known as “sleep debt.” Sleep debt can cause brain fog, irritability, and fatigue. It can even make you hungrier and cause you turn to unhealthy food as your willpower may be diminished. Additionally, If you are not sleeping well, your body produces releases the stress hormone cortisol, which slows down the production of growth hormone, ultimately affecting your muscle development.
Find ways to relax! For example, create a routine each night that including relaxing activities. Try dimming your lights and consider cutting out technology like your phone or TV an hour before bed time. Light exposure suppresses your body’s natural release of melatonin, a hormone that helps you maintain your circadian rhyme, which can affect your sleep. “Our brains are constantly challenged with technology so the break is an added benefit,” said Coach Alejandro. Reading, meditating, and taking a hot shower are great ways to relax your body.
This stressful time moves quickly and being prepared to take it head on will leave you feeling prepared for 2019.