♫ “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” ♫ … or is it? The Christmas season is often a time of heightened stress levels for many people. People stress about the extra financial burden of gifts and extra outings, not to mention things like cleaning the house, Christmas decorating, extra cooking/baking, shopping for gifts… A majority of people report being even busier leading up the holidays!!
The “stress hormone” cortisol has its place when dealing with high pressure situations, but sustained high cortisol levels can have negative effects on your body, including: sleeping problems, a depressed immune response, blood sugar abnormalities, and even abdominal weight gain. The good news is there are ways to decrease cortisol and your stress levels!
Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, I bring you the 12 Ways to Decrease Stress Levels
1. Do a relaxation/stretching class like yoga or pilates
2. Lift weights – this increases dopamine and serotonin, two “feel good” neurotransmitters
3. Stick to your workout schedule (Read how to integrate exercise into your life)
5. Say no to some social invites – if you have too many parties, politely decline or only attend for a short amount of time
6. Take time for yourself (Here are 7 strategies for making some me time)
7. Plan some outdoor activities – family time doesn’t have to be about eating – go on a walk or hit the slopes for some skiing
8. Divide your tasks into small sizes to make them more manageable
9. Keep meals simple – don’t worry about preparing a huge feast; everyone loves the basics – or for larger events, host a potluck and get all guests to contribute
10. Get enough sleep – a good night’s sleep will allow you to have enough energy to make it through the busy day (Check out 5 tips for getting a good night’s sleep)
11. Listen to calming music – this is especially helpful at night before bed
12. Hang out with a funny friend – laughter actually helps bring down cortisol levels
YOUR TURN: What else would you add? What helps you de-stress?
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