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Top tips to fight stress this Christmas season

DON’T STRESS: Christmas should be a time for relaxation and enjoyable times with friends and family

LIFE is stressful enough and then when you add all the holidays’ festivities to the mix you can
get into stress overload. The key to a balancing life is to create simple practices in your life that will help you manage your stress level.

Medical studies have shown that living in a constant state of stress and overload can undermine your physical and spiritual wellbeing. People who live with high stress levels make more mistakes, have more accidents, get sick more often, experience higher rates of depression and physical pain than others who are able to reduce or manage stress well.

I created a list with a few simple stress relief techniques you can use to help you man- age your stress during the holidays and all year through.

1. Take a Gratitude walk or hike

Exercise is known to reduce stress and relieve tension. Studies indicate that exercise reduces feelings of anxiety, depression and hostility associated with high levels of stress. When adding a dose of gratitude to your daily walk or hike, it will give you that extra burst of inspiration and happiness.

By appreciating everything around you, it will naturally cause you to become more aware and present, thus raising your energetic vibration. Then your higher-level of vibration can attract more higher-level experience.

Gratitude research has proven that when we practice gratitude on a daily basis, it releases feel-good chemicals to the brain that aid in our well- being causing us to have lower levels of stress and higher levels of peace and happiness.

2. Listen to something soothing

Create a play list on your iPod with stress relaxing music, sounds of nature, instruments or your favorite positive songs. Listening to an audio book can be relaxing. When you pick music, make sure it’s music that raises your happiness and peace vibration.

3. Practice meditation

Anyone can practice meditation. Meditation gives us a sense of calm, inner-peace. Spiritually it connects us to infinite Love. Meditation benefits our overall well-being. Medical researchers have found that meditation brings down high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, cancer, depression, heart disease, substance abuse and sleeping problems.

There are several forms of mediation - find what form best meets your needs. When you need: stop, drop and meditate.

4. Practice yoga

There are all sorts of yoga styles; find ones that work best for you and give it a try. It’s good for the body and mind and a wonderful way to reduce stress.

5. Don’t over-commit

Keep a calendar and never say yes automatically. Time pressure contributes heavily to the experience of stress in our culture. Keep the party planning and gift contribution down to a minimum. Be sure to schedule inactive time so you can just be calm and relax. Don’t feel guilty because you can’t make it to every holiday party.

6. Do your gift shopping early in the morning or online

The best way to avoid the stress of an over-crowded mall or car park is by shopping online. When going to the store or mall to shop, get there as soon as the doors open. You are more likely to beat the crowds and find a good place to park.

7. Watch your spending

Over spending causes a lot of stress. There is never any happiness in more. Create a budget for spending and do not go over it. Find creative ways to participate in gift giving like making your gifts or eliminate gift giving all together this year and opt for contributing to a charitable organisation or being of service.

8. Schedule a self-care day

Go to a day spa, get a message, facial or treatment. Allow yourself to rest and rejuvenate. If you can’t afford the spa, opt for a manicure or pedicure or do your own holistic natural home day spa. Read a good book or go see a movie. Gardening is also a wonderful way to relax.

9. Make yourself laugh

Medical research has shown that laughter actually has therapeutic effects within the body. Laughing speeds up your heart rate, releases endorphins into your system and helps relieve stress. So put on a funny movie or think of something silly some- body you know did and laugh and laugh and laugh.

10. Release expectation

Release expectation and attachments. Learn to go with the flow. Do not try to please everyone; that will just create stress. Let go and go with the flow. The holidays can bring out a lot of expectation and issues with family and friends. Set an intention to release all that and trust and commit to stay present and in the moment.

11. Keep a gratitude journal

You can keep a gratitude journal, gratitude board, gratitude photo album or write your gratitude on Post-it note. Counting your blessings is a wonderful way to self-express your appreciation. Find quiet time during your day or evening.

Make your favourite tea or warm drink and reflect upon what you have in your life to be grateful for. Gratitude is the attitude and it is a beautiful way to live. It’s a natural life sweetener. Researchers have shown it lowers stress and has many wonderful medical benefits. It can raise your happiness level by 25 per cent.

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