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Tips to fend off holiday stress

Tips to fend off holiday stress

While the holiday season is often seen as "the most wonderful time of the year," there are many reasons it may not always feel that way. Between attending holiday get-togethers, buying gifts and trying not to break your healthy habits, for some it can be the most stressful time of the year. So, we’re sharing some self-care tips to help you get the most joy out of our holiday season by reducing stress and improving well-being.

1. Move.

Physical movement can act as a stress reliever by boosting feel-good endorphins. While just about any movement can offset holiday overwhelm, here are some ideas for staying active this season:

  • When shopping, walk a few quick laps around the shopping center before going into any stores.
  • Take the stairs at every opportunity. Look for stairs in parking garages and shopping centers. If you can’t climb the stairs all the way to where you’re going, take the elevator part of the way then take the stairs the rest of the way.
  • Skip the search for a close parking spot during your errands. Park farther away and walk briskly to your destination.
  • When friends and family gather, go for a brisk group walk. 
  • Get outdoors, and take a winter hike.

2. Eat healthy.

Try these tips for eating healthy during the holidays:

  • At parties and other gatherings, fill your plate with your favorite fruits and vegetables first, then add small portions of less healthy items.
  • If you are taking food to a party, make it your favorite healthy dish. Then you’ll be sure that at least one item at the party will be a healthy choice that you enjoy.
  • Make healthier versions of your traditional recipes by using ingredients with less fat and salt.
  • Spice up baked fish or chicken by adding festive salsa or black bean sauce.
  • Consider fiber-rich beans in place of higher-fat meats.

3. Breathe.

For stress relief, take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or do an activity you enjoy, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. 

In the video below, Mike Lewis, LCSW, manager for outpatient Behavioral Health Services at Boulder Community Health, walks you through breathing exercises and other tips that can help lower stress during the holidays and all year long.

4.  Take time for yourself.

While surrounded by family and friends, it can be hard to get the time you need to recharge. When you perform your daily hygiene routine, take your time with some of these ideas:

  • Instead of taking a quick shower, draw a bath for yourself. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a boost of relaxation.
  • When it's time to brush your teeth, take an extra few minutes to floss thoroughly.
  • Take the time to apply a soothing moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated during the dry winter months.
  • If tensions rise, make space for yourself by taking your pet for a walk. Interacting with animals can provide great stress relief.