How to Stress Less this Holiday Season

The holiday season usually is a joyful time, but COVID-19 is making that hard. Here’s how you can stress less this season.

The holiday season usually is a joyful time. Many families look forward to gathering with relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and celebrating traditions. But COVID-19 and social distancing have added a new kind of stress this holiday season.  Don’t let the anxiety and worry get you down.  Here’s how you can stress less this season.

  1. Find New Ways to Connect – Whether it’s bundling up and taking a distanced walk together or meeting up for a Zoom happy hour, there are still ways to safely connect with friends and family.  This is an opportunity to create some new, and perhaps even lasting traditions.  Maybe a virtual scavenger hunt or family car parade? Whatever you do, be sure to include the older generation of your family and offer technology assistance if necessary, to allow them to participate.
  2. Boost Immunity – All that holiday stress can put a strain on your immune system leaving you vulnerable.  Give your immune system a boost with vitamin C in the form of oranges, grapefruit and even lemons.  Even the scent of citrus can do wonders.  Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of wellbeing and help alleviate stress by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a mood-affecting hormone.  Try dabbing a small of amount of lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief and keeping it in your pocket.
  3. Unplug – Yourself that is.  Pinterest can be great for ideas – it can also cause an immense amount of stress if you’re trying to make that Pinterest-perfect holiday recipe or craft.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, step away from social media for a bit – seeing all the things your friends are doing might only make you feel worse.  Not to mention if you’re staying up until the wee hours online, that blue light is known to cause sleep issues.  
  4. Replenish Magnesium – Magnesium acts on many levels to improve the body’s response to stress and help reduce or eliminate its adverse effects. The mineral has been shown to control the activity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, which is considered to be the main stress response system. One of the most common signs of magnesium deficiency is muscle tightness and cramping. Tight muscles make you feel tense, and magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant.
  5. Practice an Attitude of Gratitude – Once Thanksgiving has passed, it’s easy to forget the things we’re grateful for.  It might feel harder this year more than others to find things to appreciate, but there is still plenty to be thankful for.  Make it a habit each day to identify some of these things.  Whether it’s as big as your health or something little like hearing your favorite carol on the radio, practice recognizing these things.  It can be an incredible reminder that all is not lost.

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