As the last few months of the year approaches, with them comes cold weather and holidays filled with good food, great company, parties, gifts, drinks, travel, and …stress. Though the holidays are meant to be a time reserved for jolliness and cheer, it is nearly impossible to make it through the holiday season without any additional stress creeping in. Understanding how to reduce stress is so valuable to our bodies and minds. Stress can affect the body in many ways and can accelerate the aging process.
If you have too much stress in your life, try to reduce it during the holiday season. You will find that your holiday season will be more enjoyable and memorable and you can ensure that you have enough energy to enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones. Read on for more information on how stress affects your body and how to reduce stress during the holiday season.
The Effects of Stress on the Body and Mind
Stress can affect the overall health of the mind and body. Research shows that adults who experience high amounts of stress report lower physical and psychological health. In addition, women who report high levels of stress are more likely to have specific physical ailments.
Whether you are under a lot of pressure at work or during the holidays, stress can affect your overall health.
What is Holiday Stress?
Holiday stress can occur due to a variety of reasons, including financial worries, strained family relationships, overindulging in comfort sweets, and deadlines. Additionally, increased demand on the brain can inhibit the production of new brain cells and cause existing brain cells to die.
However, the best way to decrease stress hormones is to avoid unhealthy habits and focus on actions that relieve stress.
Healthy Habits Set You Up For Success
A healthy lifestyle can help you manage your stress levels during the holiday season. There is no such thing as a life that is completely free from stress, however, small habits can make a big difference in managing stress. It’s best to focus on activities that make you happy, such as physical exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep.
Also, limit your alcohol intake, and set limits for yourself. If you set realistic goals, you can enjoy the holiday season without feeling stressed out.
Stress Hormones Accelerate The Aging Process
Chronic stress can accelerate the aging process. Stress can shorten the telomeres on our chromosomes, the caps that protect the ends of chromosomes.
The shorter they are, the more difficult it is for cells to divide and replenish themselves, which is why humans don’t live forever.
High Levels of Stress Can Put You at Risk
Researchers found that high levels of stress could weaken the immune system, placing people at higher risk of diseases like cancer and heart attacks. This stress can be caused by traumatic events, such as job stress or discrimination, and everyday life stressors.
These findings could help to explain why some people age much faster than others and identify possible therapeutic pathways.
Chronic Stress and Inflammation
Chronic psychological stress has been linked to an increased risk of disease, accelerated aging, and several pathologies. Chronic stress triggers the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which promote inflammation.
These chemicals also help immune system blood cells form in the bone marrow. This response to a threat is life-saving. Young people respond to stress quickly and efficiently, while the older population takes much longer to respond.
Fortunately, there are ways to counteract this effect. A healthy diet and physical activity can offset the negative effects of stress on the immune system.
How to Reduce and Manage Stress During the Holidays
Holidays can be stressful, but you can find ways to cope. By making small adjustments and developing stress relief strategies, we can avoid feeling overwhelmed this holiday season and in daily life.
1. Plan Ahead (Make a List… And Check it, Twice!)
One way is to plan ahead. Make a list of things you have to do and a budget for them. Don’t feel like you have to buy gifts for everyone, either. It’s better to buy one gift for each person. But having a list of all of the gifts and purchases you are making can make it easier to plan accordingly.
Another great way to minimize stress during the holiday season is to make a list of your commitments. The holiday season can feel like a marathon of events. You can also make a calendar to help you keep track of everything you have to do.
Make sure to schedule time for physical movement, like exercise and yoga. Getting into a good routine will help lower stress and help you focus on what’s important in your life.
2. Identify What Causes You The Most Stress
You can manage your stress by understanding what causes you to feel anxious or depressed during the holiday season. If you understand what triggers a stress response or why you get anxious during the holidays, you can avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
For instance, if you’re experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD), you may have to adjust your antidepressants to account for the lower levels of dopamine during the dark season. Likewise, you can control your mood and make yourself feel more relaxed by avoiding anger.
3. Take a Break and Take a Deep Breathe
One of the best ways to reduce stress during the holiday season is to take a break. Stress often drives people to become ill, and it’s important for your well-being to give yourself some time to recover. One great way to do this is by engaging in mindfulness practices.
You can also schedule a day off from the office, even if you don’t have vacation days, to take a mental break. Taking time off can also help reset your attitude and mindset.
These practices help you regulate your emotions, improve your concentration, and gain mental clarity. Mental stress can cause the body to have physical responses, like shortness of breath or muscle tension.
4. Watch Your Caffeine Intake
While the holidays may feel like “go! go! go!” it can also feel nearly impossible to keep up with. On top of this, with the never-ending errands list, and all of the delicious seasonal flavors – many people find themselves ingesting too much caffeine and not even noticing.
This influx of caffeine and sugar can lead to the nervous system being overstimulated and a decline in a person’s sleep quality.
5. Fresh Air Always Helps!
Another good way to reduce your stress during the holiday season is to get outside and get some fresh air. Spending some time outdoors can do wonders for your health. *
The fresh air and sunshine will help you beat the seasonal blues and help you feel better. You can even try volunteering to help others during the holiday season. This can be good for the body and for the soul!
*Yes, it is cold outside. Use your best judgment and wear protective clothing. Going outside for some fresh air to relieve stress and getting frostbite are not the same!
6. Shop Smart!
Also, you can use coupons and special offers to save money on gifts. Another way to minimize stress is to find quiet places where you can breathe deeply. Deep breathing in the mall can feel impossible, but finding just a few minutes of deep breaths while you are out can be very helpful.
7. Ask for Help!!
You can reduce your stress by asking for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you need support, and others will be willing to help you out.
If you can’t find help from friends and family, seek help from your healthcare provider. Mental health professionals can help you deal with stress and provide guidance on how to reduce it.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. It is why humans learn to cry before they learn to walk. Talk to a family member or another form of social support to help get you through the holiday season.
Click here to read more about the 9 hallmarks of aging.
Foods that Help Reduce Stress Levels and Lower Blood Pressure
The holidays can be stressful for some people, but there are things you can do to alleviate this stress. For one thing, eat a healthier diet. Holiday meals are often rich in carbohydrates and fat, which can spike your blood sugar levels and make you feel sluggish.
Moreover, drinking tea can reduce your stress levels, as it contains half the caffeine found in coffee. In addition, it also contains beneficial flavonoid compounds. Additionally, dark chocolate has high levels of flavonoids that can help your brain get the blood flow it needs. Just remember to consume it in moderation. You can also try a variety of fruits and vegetables that help to fight off anxiety and depression.
Remedies to Relieve Stress
Holiday stress can affect both our physical and mental health, so it is important to find ways to reduce it naturally. Herbal remedies are a great way to fight off holiday stress.
They can reduce your cortisol levels, which can lead to hormone imbalances, sickness, and gut problems. Herbal remedies can also calm your nerves and boost your immune system.
Acupuncture can help you calm your nerves and reduce cortisol levels. It can also soothe painful muscles and settle your stomach.
2. Essential Oils and Herbs
You can also try taking tinctures of herbs. German chamomile is a common herb, and it has a soothing effect on the body. Lavender essential oil, for example, is effective at reducing stress and helping you sleep. It contains phytochemicals that can pass through the nasal cavity and into the bloodstream.
3. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is another option for reducing holiday stress. It uses tiny needles to stimulate certain points on the body. It is a drug-free method of stress management. It can reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and relieve various health conditions.
Mindfulness, Meditation, and Other Relaxation Techniques for Mental Health
One way to reduce your stress during the holiday season is to practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation can help you achieve a calm, focused state and achieve positive emotions.
It can also help you combat feelings of stress and anxiety. Research has shown that meditation can help reduce the level of stress and anxiety – it can cause a relaxation response.
To begin practicing mindfulness meditation, choose a quiet, relaxing location. You can incorporate decor into this area to make it as relaxing as possible. You can also hold an object in your hands. This will allow you to focus on the object’s attributes, which will help you find peace.
Be Present, Keep Calm, and ETernLFX
Another technique to reduce stress during the holiday season is to focus on the present moment. Practice mindfulness by spending a few minutes a day observing your surroundings. You can also practice mindfulness by paying attention to the sights and sounds of the holidays.
In addition to mindfulness meditation, you can also practice healthy eating habits and get sufficient sleep. You can still indulge in some special holiday treats, but you can balance these with healthy eating habits.
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