The holidays are upon us! The holidays are a festive time that can sometimes end up feeling pretty stressful or even depressing. There may be financial challenges with gift buying. There may be social challenges as you see people you might normally avoid or see in moderation, like family members who know how to push all your buttons. Or maybe you feel like you’re missing out when you see picture-perfect images in ads and photos people post on Facebook. Or maybe you’re missing family and friends who have passed on.
Many people turn to alcohol to ease their stress. Moderate amounts of alcohol may ease stress. However it can also increase your stress, because alcohol mixes negatively with many medications and of course you can become addicted if you start relying on it as a “stress reliever,” because you can build a tolerance to the de-stressing effects. Alcohol is also a depressant and affects serotonin levels and other neurotransmitters in the brain so anxiety and depression may increase as the buzz wears off. Alcohol can actually induce anxiety for a full day after drinking.
To help you stay sane and manage stress through the holidays in natural, healthy ways, I shared tips on Fox 2 News and KPLR 11 today. Here is the interview from KPLR 11 and below it are the tips I shared along with many more…
Give Yourself a 2-Minute Time Out
If you’re finding yourself getting really stressed, take a break from the situation by excusing yourself. Head to the bathroom or a room away from everyone else and just focus on your breath for two minutes. Set the timer on your smartphone for two minutes and then count how many times you breathe in (remember this number for later so all you have to do is step away and count that number of in-breaths). You will be amazed by how much calmer you are in that short amount of time and how much clearer you can think and interact with people after. And no one will think anything of it since you stepped away for such a short amount of time.
Change Your Perspective
If you’re feeling stressed, you’re probably focusing on something you don’t like. Negative thinking triggers your body’s stress response. By changing your thoughts, you change the way you feel. You can shift your thinking by changing your environment. Get outside for a walk and it’s highly likely your mood will brighten. Being out in nature changes your perspective and if it’s sunny out, it will boost the feel-good hormone serotonin in your brain. Walking also reduces anxiety and helps you sleep better so a walk outside is a big win all around. If weather isn’t conducive to a walk, get to the gym or have a little work out at home. You can find lots of free yoga and exercise videos on YouTube. [Read more…]