Stress relieving tips for over Christmas
Christmas can be a stressful time of year as it can be really easy to get carried away with buying presents and attending events to actually take time for yourself. Below are some fantastic tips from counselors and psychologists on how you can relieve stress to boost your mood during the hectic and busy Christmas period!
Walk for 30 minutes every day.
Counselor Jennifer A. Blough says she likes to recommend natural remedies to her clients such as spending time during the normal working day to go for a walk and enjoy the outdoors. ''Walking for 30 minutes a day, either in one long stretch or even in three 10-minute chunks, can help to release those “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Walking outside gives you the added benefits of getting vitamin D from the sun and reconnecting with nature – both of which are natural mood boosters.''
Counselor Jennifer A. Blough also discussed with us how practicing mindfulness around this time of year can help you to deal with the stresses which Christmas may bring. ''We know that physical exercise can help to increase mood, but don’t forget to give your brain a good work out. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the “here and now,” and without judgment. You can be mindful literally anywhere, anytime. Try this simple exercise to get you started: 1. *Observe* what you are doing. Without judgment, just notice what you are doing with all of your senses. Notice how you feel, what you see, what you smell, what you hear… 2. *Describe* everything you notice. Don’t judge, just notice and describe. *3. **Accept *your thoughts and feelings. Again, don’t judge; just notice. If negative thoughts or emotions come up, don’t try to force them out, just accept and gently bring your awareness back to the present moment.''
Use essential oils.
Mind-body focused psychotherapist Alena Gerst advises that essential oils are a good natural remedy for making you feel calmer during stressful episodes. ''Go to a store that has essential oils and pick up a vile that feels good. There should be testers available for you to smell. Lavender, sweet orange, eucalyptus are popular ones. You can just keep it in your pocket and smell it whenever you want, or add some to unscented lotion or massage oil or bath.''
Take even more time for self-care.
Dr. Fran Walfish discussed with us how important it is around this busy period to make quality time for yourself. ''Taking seriously good care of yourself is crucial to your happiness. This includes what you eat, drink, think, how much you move your body, and how much you rest.''
Make a list of everything which you're grateful for.
Co-founder Life's Secret Sauce discussed with us how feeling gratitude daily helps with improving your mood and finding perspective. ''Show gratitude. Start your day by writing down what you're thankful for and create 3 goals that would make the day great. Then try your best to achieve those daily goals. In the evening reflect on your goals for the day and write 3 things that made the day great. Keeping track will make you be mindful of your gratitude. It is also wonderful to read when you are feeling down.''
Still make time to exercise.
Psychiatrist Jared Heathman discussed with us the importance of exercising and to always find time to do it. Even when you're busy. ''Exercise can result in significant antidepressant effects. It can stimulate the release of dopamine resulting in effects we recognize as pleasure. Known antidepressants like bupropion stimulate dopamine as well. Exercise also increases neurotrophic factors which are small proteins that protect and grow neurons. Protecting and stimulating brain cells may stimulate improved cognition. Further research is needed to understand the full effects of the array of neurotrophic factors.''