Holiday Stress Management Tips When There Aren’t Enough Hours In the Day
- Don’t short yourself on downtime, so that you are grumpy and can’t enjoy the season.
- Do find ways to catch up on rest, get your downtime, and help yourself relax.
Holiday travel and changes in our daily routine can disrupt important things we do to rest our minds, restore our spirits, and get enough sleep. Even if there are things we really want to do, taking care of our emotional well-being means slowing down to think about what we need to feel good over the course of several days.
Of course we need sleep to restore our body’s vital energy for living each day.
But there are many other valuable ways to rest.
9 Brief Stress Management Tips
Restful, restorative things we do, maybe without realizing we need to do them, include
- Taking time for reflection or our mindfulness practice
- Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
- Taking a nap
- Listening to music, humming, singing, or playing an instrument
- Exercising, be it a walk, jog, or yoga
- Having regular meals
- Pausing for a coffee break, a cup of tea, or other brief break for yourself
- Pacing ourselves when eating special foods and drinks
- Pause and breathe
3 Simple Ways to Calm Stress
Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer of the Cleveland Clinic offers these tips to keep rested for the sake of your emotional well-being during the holidays:
Keep the times you go to sleep and wake up the same when possible. Even if you have a late night event, or need to get up earlier than usual, try to get back on schedule the next day. Do this even on weekends. A consistent cycle of sleep and awake times helps “encourage a more relaxing night’s slumber,” Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer explains.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine four hours before going to bed. While alcohol may help you relax and feel drowsy, the body keeps working to process it as you sleep. When your body needs to metabolize late intake of alcohol, it often wakes you up before the night is over, disturbing the sleep you need.
Calm your mind before bedtime. Maybe you feel stressed about how you’ll manage your shopping, cleaning, travel, or time with people who can be challenging for you to interact with. Anxiety happens! How can you take care of yourself when you feel that familiar knot tensing up?
Think about why, deep down, you feel concerned. Turn to a loved one and share your worry. See how you might find the support or help you need. (“I know I’ve let things pile up on the desk. I want the room to look neat when our company comes, but that job has me overwhelmed. Could you help me get through the stack of papers? I’d love your help.”)
Links to Soothing Guided Meditations
Try a guided meditation, breathing, or other relaxation technique. Here are some to explore:
- A selection of guided self-compassion meditations by Dr. Kristin Neff
- Guided meditations by Jon Kabat-Zin, a leading expert in mindfulness training
- A 7-minute meditation video from the Mayo Clinic
- A paragraph on a muscle relaxation technique from the Mayo Clinic
This is Tip #9, When There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day, From: 11 Holiday Stresses, and What to Do Instead.
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