The holidays are filled with so many exciting, multi-sensory experiences: the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and, unfortunately, they are often times filled with stress.
I have a large family that seems to keep getting bigger so, needless to say, my credit card bill made my jaw tighten a little this month.
So, being that Christmas is near, it will inevitably be over soon and broken bows and torn up wrapping paper usually aren’t the only messes in need of cleaning up.
Because financial stress is such a large problem among many Americans, here is a list of things to remember when suffering from post-holiday stress:
1. Take Time for Yourself
Christmas time, as it should be, is hyper focused on others. “Did I make sure to buy for ______? Will she even like it? What about my cousin I haven’t talked to in a year -- will he be expecting a gift?”
Though thinking of others is always a great policy to have year round, it’s very important and healthy to take time for yourself -- whether this means treating yourself to a little shopping trip, a fancy Starbucks drink you’ve been eyeing every time you go, a spa day, or even just carving some time out to watch Netflix in your PJs, DO IT. I promise you will feel like a new and improved person the next day. Treat yourself!
This one is a no-brainer, but exercise has been proven to release the stress hormone, cortisol, that is otherwise pent up in your body, thus leading to stress in your mind. Physical and mental health often go hand in hand -- so get on that treadmill, girl!
Sweat that stress away.
3. Focus on a hobby
I play guitar and, on especially stressful days, find that just picking it up, even if only for twenty minutes, significantly improves my mood. Hobbies tend to give you a sense of purpose and enjoyment.
No hobbies coming to mind? Learn something new! I’ve always wanted to learn to sew. Taking on something new provides a distraction from daily stress and gives you a sense of accomplishment and personal fulfillment.
4. Pet a Dog
Really. It's that simple.
Studies have shown that when you pet a dog (or cat -- sorry, I' m biased) your body actually releases the same stress reducing hormone, oxytocin, as it does when you exercise.
And, come on, it would take a lot of serious convincing for me to ever feel like I shouldn't pet a dog at any and all times.
5. Find a Mantra
I know this one seems a little cliche and silly, but seriously.
Anytime I’ve gone through a rough, stressful patch, simply reading inspirational words works wonders on my psyche.
“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” -- Maureen Killoran
Don’t play the victim. There are a number of ways to handle various situations and, although sometimes difficult, being a bigger person will never do anything bad for you or anyone else.
Be mindful of your responses and just let go.
It’s much easier to appreciate the sun when you let go of the clouds that are weighing you down.