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Most people look forward to the holidays, but when families come together there is usually quite a bit of stress thrown in with the joy.

Here are 5 ways to reduce stress during the holidays, so you can enjoy this special time more thoroughly:

Exercise

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your physical health.

Getting adequate exercise will help keep your internal system stable and flowing on the inside so you can better handle the stressors that trigger you on the outside. When your body is balanced and feels good, you’ll have an easier time regulating your emotions too.

Plus, you’ll have feel-good endorphin hormones coursing through your blood, so it’ll take a lot more to stress you out.

Go Outside

Spending time in natural settings has been proven to relieve stress and increase an overall sense of wellbeing.

If time is limited, take your exercise outside and feed to birds with one seed.

 

Prioritize and Delegate

During the holidays it is easy to get carried away and feel overburdened by to-do lists.

Instead of thinking that you need to do it all this year, evaluate what tasks are really important to you, delegate some to friends and family, and let go of the rest.

Which brings me to the next point.

 

Let Go of Perfectionism

Sure, it’s nice to dream that the house will look like a movie set, that there will be more dishes to try than you have room for, and that everyone will be happy and get along.

But reality is always a bit more messy, and that’s ok.

And anyway, the Thanksgiving where everything was perfect won’t be the one that you remember years later, it’s the one where everything went wrong that you’ll be telling stories about.

So even if you feel like it’s one mini-crisis after another, remember to laugh at your mistakes and enjoy the ride wherever it takes you.

 

Breathe Deeply

It’s easy to try to tell yourself to relax, but actually doing it is a lot harder.

When things get heated, especially when family’s involved, it’s a lot easier to revert back to your adolescent self and have a meltdown than it is to stay calm and carry on.

These are the moments where it’s especially important to breathe slow, deep breaths.

When you’re stressed, your sympathetic nervous system kicks in, causing your heart rate to go up, your blood to rush out of your core and into your muscles, and your breathing to get shallow. When this happens you don’t think as clearly because your body is essentially in fight-or-flight survival mode and just wants to find a way out of the situation.

However, when you breathe deeply you counteract this physiological response, drawing your blood back to the center and turning on the parts of your brain that are in charge of thinking more rationally, so you’ll be able to feel better and react more reasonably when things get tough.

 

Most importantly, don’t forget to sit back, relax, and enjoy each moment as much as you can.

If you take care of yourself, are able to be grateful for all the abundance around you, and laugh at the parts that don’t quite turn out the way you planned, you’ll have a wonderful holiday to remember.

 

 

 

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