The holidays are here and it is time to make sure presents are bought, gifts wrapped, parties are attended, turkey baked, families are together, travel plans are in place and you keeping your sanity!
The list goes on and on and somehow we tend to get everything done! Oh, did I mention the added stress of avoiding all of the decadent desserts; dips and holiday dinners while making sure our workouts are executed every day just to MAINTAIN our weight?
All of the hustle and bustle leads to undue stress. How do you know that
stress is taking over your body? What are the symptoms? Here are a list
of tell tale signs that stress could be taking over YOUR body:
Do you suffer from?
- Poor concentration and increased irritability
- Drinking excess caffeine or alcohol or smoking more
- Not being able to sleep well
- Palpitations of the heart, a 'lump' in the throat or stomach or dry
- Always feeling like something needs to be done and that you cannot
simply sit and relax
- Cravings for sweets or other carbohydrates
- Aches and pains
- Are you sick more often than you would like?
Do any of these symptoms pertain to you? Have you been ignoring them and
hoped they would simply disappear? Ready to learn some tips on how to keep
them at bay during the holidays?
For starters, I am a firm believer in getting your exercise. Make sure it
is part of your life. If it is impossible to fit it in everyday, then fit
it in at least 3-4 times per week. Your body will thank you for it! Getting
at least 20-30 minutes of walking, running, weight training,yoga etc. will
make you feel increasingly better while your stress levels decrease. Schedule
it in your weekly planner and stick to the appointment!
Keeping a diary is also VERY therapeutic. In the diary, write about the
times, places and events where people tend to make you feel stressed. What
was the circumstance? Why did the event make you feel stressed? Analyze
your entries after a few days and try to see it there is a pattern forming.
Are the triggers personality conflicts? Have you been asked to do too much?
Are there time pressures? Once identified, you can implement the appropriate
strategies to lessen your stress levels.
Try talking with a friend! Getting out what is bothering you is also incredibly
helpful. Venting to someone who will truly listen is incredibly valuable.
Schedule breaks in your day. If you know your day will be hectic from morning
until night, get up 15-20 minutes earlier and begin your day slowly. Take
a walk, do some stretching, yoga, meditation, journalising
that will set your mind in a positive frame set.
Understand what it means to relax. Many people don't understand how to do
this. Deep breathing techniques are incredibly helpful. Try slowly inhaling
while counting to five; hold your breath for five seconds, then breath out
slowly. Repeat this up to 10 times when stress levels are rising! Your body
will love the relief it gets!
Take mini stretch breaks! If you are at a desk all day, take a walk down
the hall and stop and stretch your body. If you can't leave your desk and
are in need of instantaneous stress relief, try keeping your shoulders level
ant try to touch each shoulder with your ear. Look right, up at the ceiling,
down at the floor and then rotate each shoulder in a circle. Repeat this
about 5 times. Open and close your jaw widely after each time. Stress can
cause tension in the jaw area.
For a full body release, try tensing all of the muscles in your body simultaneously,
hold for 5 seconds and then release. Feel every muscle tighten up your eyes,
your cheeks, your stomach, your biceps etc. Squeeze and hold and then release
One last tip to help you is to GET ORGANISED! Things tend to be tossed everywhere
and inevitably important items get misplaced which adds more stress! If
you get organized or de-clutter your workspace, you will feel more in control.
Clutter creates confusion and a sense of loss of power. You don't need that
right now!! Take the few minutes it takes to tidy up a bit.
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