Christmas is Nearly Here…

We are well into the Holiday Season. How are you holding up? Are you letting the stresses of the season get you down or are using this opportunity to build yourself up?

Stanford professor Kelly McGonigal, PhD shared a few strategies in her book The Upside of Stress-the repeated theme was having a positive mindset regarding stress:

“…viewing a stressful situation as an opportunity to improve your skills, knowledge, or strengths makes it morelikely that you will have a challenge response instead of a fight-or-flight response. This, in turn, increases the chance that you will learn from the experience”

You can “choose” how you react to stressful events – by being mindful during it, and looking at the event as an opportunity to grow.

Here are some strategies to enjoy the season even more and to grow with the season:

  • Help out others by volunteering. Helping others cope with difficult times during the holidays allows you to feel more connected and to cope with your own stresses.
  • Pray, meditate, or attend a religious service.
  • Read a good book or some uplifting poetry.
  • Listen to music. Crank up the volume and sing along to all of your Christmas favorites.
  • Get a massage, reiki, or reflexology.
  • Go for a walk or just spend a few minutes outside connecting to the earth.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Spend 10-15 minutes journaling about your core values and motivations. When you focus on your core values you can more easily face stressful situations. This way,when you are spending time with difficult in-laws, you can be reminded how much you value your spouse’s love!
  • Laugh and have fun. Fun lowers the hormones of stress. Happiness has other benefits too,such as lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system. My favorite activities are to watch all of the classic funny holiday movies, such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Elf, and then to play cards or board games with the family.
  • Get and give lots of hugs. Oxytocin, a feel-good hormone important for keeping stress down, is increased by getting hugs. The more the merrier!
  • The doctor in me also wants to remind you to drink your water and take your good quality multivitamins to help you process the holiday goodies. You may need some extra vitamin D too, to keep your immune system working well.

I Wish You and Yours the Very Best for the Holidays!

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