Staying on Track During the Holidays – Stress – Part 4

Just like the saying “with great reward comes great responsibility”, with turkey and tinsel comes and problems and pressure. Sometimes. At least for me. Your time is stretched as thin as your budget and the stress of making sure everything is perfect for those around you can be overwhelming. Your intentions are good – help create and participate in happy holiday memories…but we sometimes take that a bit too far and our health suffers for it. (Stress eating, anyone?) So can we deal with holiday stress in a postive way or work to reduce it to a more reasonable level? Yes. We. Can.

Set Boundaries

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there is an event every other day (half of which you don’t REALLY want to go to), just don’t go. Prioritize the parties and gatherings that you want to attend and simply send your regrets for the others. Not only will you start to breathe a little easier but people won’t have to put up with your Grinchiness because…p.s…they can tell you’d rather be somewhere else.

Prioritize Your Workouts

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: put your workouts in your schedule like you would an important family appointment or work meeting. And don’t cancel. You’ve probably heard that exercise helps manage stress. How? It produces chemicals in your brain called endorphins. These chemicals actually provide feel-good benefits – even acting as pain-killers – and can help you sleep better. (And we all know that quality sleep is important.) One of the best stress-killing workouts? Boxing! Not only is it a great workout, it’s so good to get that aggression out in a healthy way. For example, at Impact we have a Boxing Boot Camp that is by far everyone’s favorite session of the week. Yoga, dancing, and getting outside for a run are other examples of super stress-relieving activity.

Include Stress-Fighting Foods into Your Diet

Yes, food can actually help you fight stress. And I don’t mean the Blue Bell Christmas Cookie ice cream. Look for foods that are high in potassium (avacado, banana) to aid in blood pressure management and magnesium (swiss chard, cashews) to help balance cortisol, the stress hormone. And don’t be afraid to indulge (within reason) in dark chocolate. Research suggests that it reduces stress hormones and encourages the release of serotonin, a feel-good hormone.

Make Lists

For me, this would be making a list of things that I really do NEED to get done and a list of things that I would LIKE to get done. Here’s the truth: it’s not all going to happen for me so why put that expectation on myself. Give yourself a little bit of a break. And hey, if you get to the things that you would LIKE to get done – it’s like a bonus!


This goes alongside the list making. Even though it may be challenging at this time of year, try to keep things in perspective. Is it really the end of the world if you don’t get that homemade divinity done? No. Are people going to care if you use a gift bag instead of themed, matching gift wrap. Nope. Are they going to remember that you were on edge the whole time and not enjoying any of it? Probably. Saying this to myself as much as anyone else…chill out. It’s just Christmas. 😉

Other Great Ways to Destress

  • Meditate – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it
  • Be in Silence – turn off the noise around you
  • Read – make the time to do it
  • Color / Draw – there’s a reason they make adult coloring books
  • Journal – it really is therapeutic

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