As the holiday season approaches, many people often find themselves overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities, commitments, and plans that the season brings. To help manage the stress of this holiday season, the American Psychological Association (APA) offers these 5 healthy ways to manage the stress!

  1. Take a Break From the Stressor: Learn to take a “time out” during your day. Often people become overwhelmed in the moment when they are planning an event, making lists of people to contact, or making phone calls to find out information. By taking a “time out” in the midst of these activities you give your mind time to rest and process the information. Go back to the activity after a 15 or 20-minute “time-out” and you may find you have a new perspective on the situation and feel less overwhelmed.
  2.  Exercise: Taking time to exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but also your mind as well. Research continues to support the benefits of a regular exercise routine. However, even a 20 minute walk or run in the middle of a stressful event can have added benefits of relaxation and stress relief in the hours following.
  3. Smile and Laugh: You may have heard it said, “Laughter is the best medicine!” Well there is some truth to this! Laughing and smiling helps to relieve tension in the muscles of our face. The mind is connected with our emotions and facial expressions, so when we are feeling stressed, the tension is often held in our face. By laughing and smiling we reduce this tension and give our bodies the opportunity to relax.
  4. Get Social Support: Since laughing and smiling are healthy for you, you need to find someone to laugh with! Call a friend, send an email, or text your favorite emoji to someone you love. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust does help to relieve stress.
  5.  Meditate: Meditation and mindful prayer have been found to relax and focus your mind and body. When people practice a form of mindfulness or mindful prayer, it can release emotions that are causing them physical stress.

So this holiday season, don’t let yourself become overwhelmed with all of the hustle and bustle. Take time for yourself and connect with others. Think about how you can use these different methods to help manage your stress. This can improve your overall health and well-being, which in turn may help you to become more thankful and cheerful this holiday season!

By Dr. William Travis Jordan