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5 ways to avoid holiday stress
The holidays are a wonderful time to relax and be with family, but it also is a time when parents can get overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. As Christmas draws near, parents have to find ways to entertain the children who are out of school, find time to shop for gifts, cook, clean and more. Here are a few tips to help you avoid as much stress as possible during the holiday season.
1. Soak up the sun — Sunlight is an instant mood enhancer. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing during the cold and gloomy winter months and getting plenty of sunlight can aid in the production of serotonin.
2. Make time for exercise — Even during the busy holidays, it is important to make time for exercise. Not only will in decrease depression and sadness, it will help you combat the extra calorie intake consumed during the many holiday meals. Take the kids for a walk to get them out of the house and burn off some energy and calories at the same time.
3. Cut down the to-do list — We tend to go overboard and put way too much pressure on ourselves to complete holiday tasks. The simple answer is to do less. Taking care of yourself and spending quality time with your family is more important than to try to please everyone. The thank you cards can wait, the dishes can wait and the shopping list can be chopped in half. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
4. Unplug — There is nothing more stressful than trying to prepare for the holidays while your phone is constantly buzzing. Checking messages, social media and email constantly keeps you in a perpetual “fight or flight” mode, especially if you are busy with the kids, shopping, cooking or cleaning. Make the family unplug from their electronic devices for a few days so you can enjoy decorating the tree, eating dinner or watching your favorite movie.
5. Think positive — The holidays may drive you to your breaking point, but don't focus on the bad. Negative thinking can trigger the your body's stress response, just as a real threat does. Remember, it's time to celebrate with your family and friends (even if they do stress you out!). An optimistic outlook will help you cope with challenges that come your way.