Five Steps to Curbing Holiday Stress

There’s no avoiding it. The holidays are upon us! Excitement and irritation! Joy and stress! Few things in life can create such instant internal contradictions in me as the holidays.

Is there anything we can do to help enjoy the holidays with as little stress as possible? Of course! Here are five quick suggestions from Joe!

1. SLEEP!

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Joe talks all the time about the importance of sleep. It is twice as important during times of stress! Sleep is when your brain cleans and repairs itself. Stress increases the amount of cleaning necessary. Moreover, skimping on sleep causes your brain to age prematurely! So how do you protect your sleep with family in town? Set expectations clearly. Let the visiting family know exactly when you go to sleep ahead of time so you don’t get stuck watching “just one more” Christmas movie.

 

2. EAT (well)!

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I know, I know: This is when we celebrate. This is when diets get thrown out the window. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating or even indulging a little this time of year. The problems mount when we do it more than once or twice. Are you grabbing fast food because you need to buy that last present? Did you eat half the Christmas cookies rather than dinner while frantically cleaning the house? Perhaps you opted for pie for breakfast (I’m guilty. Very, very guilty.)? These little decisions add up fast! The older I get, the more quickly my body lets me know when I’ve messed up. This year, I’m looking for opportunities to eat as many good things as possible. I stocked up on good apples and protein bars for those times I can’t eat a proper meal. I have two big cans of our PURE PROTEIN ESSENTIALS in the kitchen so I can have a healthy smoothie in the morning rather than my customary pie. That way, when I finally DO let loose on Christmas, it won’t be the ump-teenth time I’ve done it.

 

3. EXERCISE!

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Gross. Next?

*sigh* OK, OK!

It doesn’t have to be over the top. Go for a long walk. Do push-ups when you get out of bed. Do some lunges down the hall. Stretch. Pull up an exercise or yoga routine on Youtube and follow along. I learned a phrase long ago that always helps me to be motivated: FEELING FOLLOWS ACTION. Don’t let your feelings master you! Choose to exercise and your feelings will get in line behind you!

 

4. PRIORITIZE!

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You can’t do everything. Trying to is a great way to ratchet up the stress when you inevitably fail and end up disappointing family, friends and yourself.

There’s a better way! Prioritize. Pick what’s most important. Make a list of everything you want and need to do. Everything. EVERYTHING. Once you have it all written down, write a “1” next the single most important thing, a “2” after that, and so on. That way, if you only do ONE thing you know you’ve done what was most important. Would it help to have examples? How about this: Clean the toilet, Bake cookies, Play a game with my kids, Watch IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. All of those things are important, but playing a board game is tops in our hose. Next, I’d really like the toilet to be cleaned before company comes over. Etc. If we don’t get to see Zuzu’s petals this year, it’ll be sad… but it’ll also be OK because I know we did what was most important to us.

 

5. PRAY!

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All day, every day. Quick prayers (Thank you, God, for a heater that works!). Dinner prayers. Driving on ice prayers. All of the prayers!

*BUT!*

You must set aside time to listen as well. Is it possible that God might like a moment with you in the midst of all of this? Don’t forget to just sit and be in His presence this Christmas season. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, but there’s a reason we all think of that. Getting your day started right is a perfect example of proper prioritization: even if the rest of the day goes down in flames, you did what was MOST important first.

 

Relax! Enjoy time with family and friends! Eat sugar! Do all the things, but do it all without the “holiday-stress-hangover.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Years from the entire team!

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