We all want to enjoy our holiday season as much as possible, yet every year it seems more and more people I know look with some sense of dread to this busy time of year. In the interest of making the season as enjoyable as possible, here are some tips you may or may not know or remember to help maximize the pleasure and minimize the dread.
(1) Maintain your diet, exercise, and sleep routines. Excess blood sugar readings create havoc with our temperaments and emotional well being. Twenty minutes of exercise will automatically reduce stress levels by releasing the "feel good" endorphins. Conversely, too much sugar, alchohol, smoking, and caffeine acerbate anxieties. Maintaining a healthy diet, sleep, and exercise routines are the best things you can do to keep stress at a manageable level. Ignoring them is the worst.
(2) Unplug by taking a relaxation break twice a day, if possible. For one of the breaks, get some fresh air by walking for at least 20 minutes, in a pastoral area if at all possible; a nearby park, better yet if you live in the in a rural or wooded area. For your second break, "get hot" by taking a relaxing bath, or a sauna, if you have access to a sauna room. If neither of these, bundle up warm and have a hot cup of tea, or even hot water. The idea is to raise your body temperature. According to some experts, you will automatically reduce your level of stress. According to others, chamomile tea, lemon tea, and green tea also has calming and relaxing effects (remember, if taking prescription medicines, consult with your physician for possible interactions, etc.)
(3) Meditation of any form is enormously effective in releasing stress. It does not matter which form you choose, prayer, prayer beads, chants, mindful meditation, cognitive re-framing, focus on anything, then ask yourself a question about it. think about it, etc.) yoga breathing, (breathe in to count of 4, hold for count of 7, release to count of 8) etc. It is especially helpful if you can evaluate your life for areas of which you are thankful and can express gratitude for the positive in your life rather than a focus on the negative. (The proliferation of gratitude and thankful statements on Facebook, etc. is pleasing because those individuals sharing those thoughts know what they are doing). Self evaluations and positive conversations with "self" are also beneficial. It is okay to pat yourself on the back!
(4) Relaxing routines such as knitting,baking, and other "hands on" focus tasks can help reduce stress levels. Try to maintain any you may have at this time of year; it may be when you need it the most.
(5) Aroma therapy works!! especially lavender. Use scented candles (providing you are not allergic!), hang bows of evergreen, lavender sprigs, spiced cones, etc. Whatever scents that you like. They will boost your spirit and are known to have positive mental effects.
May your holiday season be as relaxed as possible...Geneva...Rockmyages@aol.com