Stress levels seem to go up during the holidays every year. According to the American Psychological Association, almost 70% of people say they feel holiday stress because of a lack of time — they’re trying to find all the gifts while making time to attend all the gatherings and events. Of course, this year we might be feeling stressed because of the opposite reason: not being able to enjoy all the big holiday get-togethers like usual. Let’s not forget about the stress of doing most of our shopping online and crossing our fingers that our packages won’t be crushed or lost before they even make it to our porch.
But don’t let holiday stress steal your joy of the season! Here are four ways to get on top of holiday stress.
When it comes to holiday shopping, the earlier you can shop, the better. Whether you’re shopping in the physical store or online, selection becomes more and more limited the closer we get to Christmas. Plus, especially in the case of online shopping, you need to build in some “what-if” time. What if the shipping carrier loses the package? What if it’s damaged during shipping? How about if the store is busier than normal and takes an extra week to ship orders out?
Things go wrong, even for Amazon Prime® orders and stores that offer guaranteed fast shipping. So, banish shopping stress by doing it early.
Here’s a bonus shopping-related tip: Don’t be afraid to pick up a gift you’re not 100% certain is the right gift with the plan to return it later if need be. If you don’t find anything else, you’ll be saved from scrambling at the last minute, trying to find another present.
Make Time for Me-Time
Sure, one of the best parts of the holidays is the time we get to spend cherishing our loved ones. But making time for some self-love is still vital. You won’t be able to enjoy your family or the season like you should if you’re feeling frazzled. So, make time for those things that recharge you. Slip away to your hot tub, play a round of golf, give yourself a manicure, go to bed early to read that book that’s been waiting on your nightstand… indulge in a few of your favorite things without a smidgen of guilt.
It’s easy to feel sad when the holidays don’t look like you want them to. For many of us, a lot of our traditions are on hold this year. But here’s a powerful statistic to keep in mind. According to Harvard Medical School, gratitude is “strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” In other words, just the act of practicing gratitude can actually affect how happy we are feeling. So, find reasons to be thankful this season and take a few minutes to jot them down each day.
Lower Cortisol Levels
As WebMD® puts it, cortisol, the stress hormone, is “nature’s built-in alarm system.” It triggers your fight or flight response in a stressful situation. In the caveman days, cortisol is what would have saved your bacon by helping you flee from a predator. It could suppress functions, like your immune system or digestive process, that wasn’t needed at that exact moment. All you needed was speed to escape.
That’s a great response if you’re running from a lion. It’s not so helpful if you’re stressed from the holidays! It would still be nice to have a healthy immune system, thank you very much, cortisol. The good news is, there are things you can do to lower harmful levels of cortisol in your body.
- Soak in a hot tub. Not only will the peaceful, relaxing time help ease stress, but studies have shown that using a hot tub lowers cortisol levels and increases endorphin production.
- Hit the sauna. Similar to using a hot tub, the heat in your sauna will lower cortisol levels and help ease stress.
- Exercise. The key to lowering cortisol with exercise is to find a consistent regimen.
- Get enough sleep. If you’re not rested, it’s harder for the body to properly regulate cortisol levels. Need help sleeping? Don’t count sheep; hot tub hydrotherapy or a sauna session are both proven, effective ways to get better sleep.
- Eat well. A healthy diet is good in general, but some foods can directly lower cortisol. Vitamin C, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids have all been shown to help.
Now that you know how to stay on top of holiday stress, get out there and enjoy the season as much as possible! Need a stress-busting hot tub or Pro 6® sauna of your own? Contact us today!