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Dec 1st, 2015

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

by Carmen Scott

Category: Articles, Information & Tips on Parenting, Things everyone should know…

The holidays can be a stressful time and often those who suffer with anxiety feel symptoms increase and become out of control during this time of year.

Most people that feel anxious during the holidays are dealing with anxiety which includes persistent and excessive worry about activities or events. The worry is usually out of proportion to the actual circumstance, and can interfere with the ability to cope with daily events.

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include; feeling nervous, having a sense of impending doom, having rapid breathing and an increased heart rate, feeling tired, sweating, and trouble concentrating about anything other than the present worry.

By making some basic lifestyle changes, and taking small, and straightforward steps everyday you can manage and minimize your anxieties.

1. Remember to breath. Deep breathing triggers a relaxation response. Inhale slowly to a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, then slowly exhale to a count of four. Repeat this four or five times.

2. Get active. One of the best things to cope with anxiety is to get regular cardiovascular exercise. A brisk 30 minute walk will release endorphins that will help reduce your anxiety. Develop a routine so that you're physically active most days of the week. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer which can improve your mood and help you stay healthy, and improve your sleep.

3. Make sleep a priority. Not getting enough sleep can trigger anxiety. If you're having trouble sleeping, put away the smartphones and tablets and engage in relaxing activities several hours before bedtime. These activities could include a relaxing bath, listening to soothing music, or reading a book. Many people with anxiety have trouble falling asleep, because at this time of night the brains starts to work "overtime". Try to focus your thinking on something like mental math. That could be counting backwards from 100, or reciting the times tables. The result is to calm your mind and distract from your worries.

4. Engage with others and do something you like. Social support is helpful in managing stress and anxiety, so schedule a coffee date or go to lunch with a friend. Make sure you book an activity you enjoy, such as taking a walk, or going to a yoga class. Engaging in enjoyable activities will help to reduce your anxiety.

5. Limit time spent at holiday parties, especially if you're feel stressed. How much time you spend at the party is not as important as being there. Also limit or avoid alcohol, sedatives, coffee and tea.

6. During the holidays, it can seem like every task takes three times as long; from air travel, to waiting in a line up. Instead of getting angry and irritated during these times, start a conversation with someone else standing beside you and wish them a happy holiday, or "plug-in" and listen to your favourite piece of music, to help the time pass.

7. Lower your expectations, and keep your expectations of the season realistic.

8. Instead of spending every night at a holiday function, take time out, and spend a quiet evening at home. Watch a movie or have a game night with your family or just spend time being by yourself.

By taking small steps everyday, you can minimize your anxiety and cope more effectively throughout the Holiday season.

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