Six ways to reduce anxiety this holiday season

Sometimes the holidays just aren’t very happy. We often find ourselves over stressed verses overjoyed. And, the holidays can be most stressful for women. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) found that nearly half of all women in the United States experience heightened stress during the holidays, putting their mental and physical health at risk.

So, ladies, while you probably can’t totally avoid stress and anxiety all together, you can follow these simple tips to help make for a happier holiday:

  1. Take breaks. Take the time to close your eyes, practice deep breaths and calm down. Quieting your mind can help you relax physically. Quick relaxation breaks of 1 to 5 minutes can help you recharge and refocus. Conscious, slow breathing will help reduce your anxiety.  When you are waiting in that line that never seems to move or when someone takes that parking space you had your eye on, take a break and breathe deeply.
  2. Get moving. Don’t ignore your exercise routine. Physical activity not boosts your fitness and energy level it can even reduce anger, tension, fatigue and confusion. Regular physical activity especially during this time a year is a positive move for your mental health.
  3. Practice polite portions. Too much of a good thing can actually add to your anxiety. Avoid the emotional roller coaster of over eating and drinking by limiting your consumption of foods like pies, cakes, cookies, and drinks like eggnog, wine or cocktails. When offered these “goodies,” aim to take three to five “polite” bites or sips.
  4. Stay organized. Keeping lists can help keep you focused and calm. Writing down all that you have to do during the holidays will help you realize how do-able your tasks really are. Be realistic about what you put on your lists. To reduce anxiety and to keep from feeling overwhelmed tackle each item from your list one at a time. And, if you can’t complete a task, it is okay to take it off the list.
  5. Be generous and thankful. One of the best ways to stay calm and cheerful this time of year is to act generously with your loved ones, co-workers and friends. Be generous with your compliments. Offer to do a loved one’s errands. People truly appreciate gifts that come from the heart. Focusing on what you’re thankful for and sharing generously with others can help avoid anxiety and emotional mishaps. 
  6. Take time for you.  With all the hustle and bustle, finding time to be alone is important. You don’t have to run away from family and friends. Instead, let them know you need time to yourself. Draw yourself a bath, meditate, read your favorite book, go for a walk, anything that allows you to just enjoy some ‘me time’ and relax. It is okay to make yourself a priority.