How to Manage Stress with Healthy Habits during the Holidays

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With relatives coming into town and old friends getting together, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with unrealistic expectations that can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety around the holidays. Instead of letting this push your buttons, learn how to manage stress with healthy habits.

Recognize the Sources of your Stress

The first step to reducing stress is to recognize how it is affecting your life. This common mental health symptom can manifest itself in many different ways, including:

  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach

If your stress level is becoming overwhelming, learn to protect your physical and mental well-being by substituting healthy habits.

how to manage stress

How to Manage Stress in a Positive Way

Just because you have the holiday blues, doesn’t mean you need to blow off steam in a negative way. These nine healthy habits will help you learn how to manage stress naturally.

  • Stay active: If the holidays are stressing you out, regular activity might be the best way to improve your mood. Aerobic exercises, like bicycling or swimming, are highly recommended natural stress relievers.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: All the running around during the holidays can overwhelm just about anybody. Meditation techniques are a positive way to clear your mind and help you achieve a state of emotional calmness.
  • Do something for yourself: Just because you are practicing healthy habits, doesn’t mean you can’t indulge, too. Treat yourself to a nice meal or an inexpensive item.
  • Spend time with loved ones: The holidays are a great time for catching up with friends or relatives you haven’t seen enough of this year. Make a date with an old acquaintance to celebrate the end of another year.
  • Think positive thoughts: Although everybody sings the holiday blues once in a while, those who stay upbeat tend to enjoy better mental health in stressful times.
  • Get a good night’s sleep: While you may have a lot on your plate, it’s important not to get run down. Health experts recommend that adults receive seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
  • Eat right: One of the most important healthy habits is to eat a well-balanced diet, which includes a variety of foods from all the major food groups.
  • Learn when to say no: The holiday season is often full of parties and get-togethers. Don’t feel like you have to attend every one.
  • Maintain a normal routine: Even though there is a lot going on in the month of December, don’t let that disrupt your regular schedule. If you find yourself suddenly sleeping less or eating more, it could be a sign of too much stress in your life.

Avoid Unhealthy Stress Relief

Unmanageable stress during the holiday season can have negative consequences. An important part of living a healthy lifestyle is avoiding bad habits, like these:

  • Overeating
  • Smoking
  • Drinking or using drugs
  • Unhealthy sleep patterns

Although it’s easy to use the holidays as excuse to indulge bad habits, this is not an effective way to cope with stress and anxiety. Instead, you can have a more enjoyable holiday season if you learn how to manage stress with healthy habits.

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