Halloween's over and all those Starbucks Christmas cups are telling us that the holidays are here.
Sure, they bring magic and joy and warm fuzzy feelings all around, but you know what else they bring?
A shit load of stress.
Whether it's a tight budget, running yourself thin trying to make it to every holiday event, or dreading the awkward questions that your no-filter alcoholic uncle'll ask at the Christmas dinner table, we get it.
But...unchecked stress can throw you into a whirlwind by negatively impairing memory, attentiveness, and cognitive functions - all while wearing down your immune system making it easy for the holiday flu season to creep up on you.
Sounds like a ticking time bomb if you ask us!
Use these five tips to keep your holidays stress in check so that you actually enjoy the season.
TIPS ON MANAGING HOLIDAY STRESS
Kick holiday stress with these five tips...
- Daily Exercise
- Get Outside
- Sleep and Eat Well
- Take Your Vitamins
- Set Limits
Let's get to it...
1.) EXERCISE DAILY
You should have known this was coming! Vigorous exercise can help kick the holiday blues!
Overwhelmed? Take a break and workout!
Not only does exercise help with body composition, but regular exercise has also been shown to:
- Reduce Anxiety + Depression
- Increase Blood Circulation in the Brain
- Improve Motivation, Mood, and Self-Esteem
- Increase Memory + Cognitive Functions
Exercise also releases feel-good endorphins. Ever heard of "runner's high", endorphins take the credit.
Physical activity helps to increase endorphins giving you a natural high, but you need to earn it. Here's how:
RUN HARD: A slug's pace won't do it, put some effort into it and run for at least 30 minutes.
EMOMS: Every minute on the minute. Emoms are versatile and can be used with whatever you have. Kettlebells, dumbbells, full gym access, or nothing - you can use emoms.
Here's a 20 minute sample to give you an idea:
- 15 Kettlebell Swings
- 10 Burpees
- 20 Body Squats
- 10 Push Ups
- 50 Yard Dash
Put your timer on for 20 minutes. When the timer starts, you're on minute one. Do your 15 swings and use the remainder of the minute to rest before moving on to the next exercise.
EMOMS are a short and brutal way to get your blood pumping and workout that stress.
HIIT: Once you start enjoying the non-stop jumping, you'll know you hit that high.
GROUP CLASSES: For those who do best in group settings, gather up your tribe and get a workout in together.
Need more workout ideas? Get some here.
2.) GET OUTSIDE
Get outside and get outta that funk. Fresh air is good for you. Plus, if you live in a cold state, it's hard to stay stressed while freezing your ass off.
- Improved Attention
- Lower Stress
- Improved Mood
- Increased Empathy and Cooperation
...and we all know that to make it through the holidays, cooperation is KING!
Calm your holiday stress by getting outdoors daily. Adjust your daily activity to your local climate and how much cold you can handle.
Just get outside and throw a massive snowball at your annoying neighbor and it may just make you feel better...kidding...kinda ; )
3.) SLEEP WELL
No one likes a scrooge, so don't let shitty sleep turn you into one.
Sleep should always be a priority, so if you struggle with, it may take some work.
Here are 6 tips for better sleep:
- Quality Matters
- Cut Blue Light
- Limit Caffeine
- Consistency Affects Sleep
- Train Hard
- Black It Out
Remember this, "poor sleep can be a contributing factor to the initiation and worsening of mental health problems." - Sleep Foundation
So if you're already feeling stressed, poor sleep will make things worse! Hit the workout hard so your body craves sleep!
4.) TAKE YOUR VITAMINS
Specifically, a quality multivitamin.
Thanks to good ol' Dr. Rhonda Patrick, we know that a new randomized controlled trial showed that consistently supplementing with a multivitamin slowed cognitive aging by 60% by improving cognition, episodic memory, and executive functioning.
COGNITION: The processes involved in learning, memory, and knowledge.
EPISODIC MEMORY: The memory of your recent, past, and everyday events. Questions you ask yourself like;
"Where did I park the car?"
"Did I order my secret santa gift?"
"Did I unplug the coffee maker?"
Etc. etc. etc.
EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING: The cognitive processes and skills needed to learn, work, and manage everyday life in order to plan, monitor, and execute goals and tasks.
According to the study, routinely taking a multivitamin can help improve:
- Problem Solving
- Decision Making
So instead of being the Grinch, brighten up with a multivitamin and enjoy the season.
*Side note: Lucky us, flu season and the holidays run side by side! Stress can put a damper on your immune system, so take your vitamins daily to remain mentally and immunally strong!
5.) SET LIMITS AND BUDGETS
Boundaries, budgets, time to yourself, whatever you need, do it.
LIMITS: We have them, but some of us shy away from setting them. Make it a priority to stick up for yourself and put your foot down when needed.
BUDGETS: Money AND Time
Don't put yourself into a hole trying to impress people with gifts you can't afford. If you're stressed during the holidays, overspending will keep you stressed into the new year!
Budget your time accordingly. If you can't make EVERY holiday event, so be it. Prioritize which events you can make, and for the ones you can't, they'll understand.
WRAPPING THIS UP
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Don't let stress define your holiday mood.
Do enjoy it! Take time to enjoy family, friends, and all the fun the season brings.
Exercise daily, get outside, sleep well, eat well, take your vitamins, and set reasonable limits and budgets this holiday season.