Entries tagged with: stress relief
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It seems that every year, around mid-October, my life starts to slowly snowball out of control. First there is Halloween and the pressure of helping my kids devise (and then create) a clever costume.
Then comes November which brings with it one daughter's birthday (with attendant celebration), followed by Thanksgiving (which involves either travel or cooking or both). And then before I know it, December descends upon me and so does the other daughter's birthday, closely followed by my husband's and father's birthdays (this year it's the BIG 8-0 for Pops!) and then Christmas/Chanukah (which also involves either cooking or travel or both).
Of course, there are also holiday cards to make and mail, and "perfect" gifts to find, buy and ship. Not to mention office and neighborhood parties (which require dressing up and trying to score a sitter) and cookie-exchanges (which require baking cookies!).
If cultural indicators are to be trusted, I know that I am not alone: 'Tis the season to be totally stressed out. But, as we all know by now, stress is not good for body or soul.
According to the experts, there are steps we can take to reduce that stress, most of which is of our own making.
"One of the big things is that people do a lot of 'should-ing' this time of year," says Paula Bloom, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia. "They have an ideal in their headsfrom magazines and movies and family expectationsfor how things should be. But it does not line up with what they can or want to do." This, she says, creates tension.
The solution? "Stop 'should-ing' all over yourself" she advises. Create your own traditions based on what matters to you, not what you think you should be doing. To help you decide what is important, focus on the spiritual, instead of commercial, aspects of the holidays. And spend your financial and emotional capital wiselyyou don't want to get to January emotionally or financially bankrupt.
The second big reason holidays create so much stress is that they take us out of our daily routines. "People stop doing the things that keep them healthy physically and mentally: sleeping and eating right, and exercising," says Bloom.
"Take care of yourself. Just because you're going to party doesn't mean you throw out your good behavior. Stay on your exercise schedule and maintain healthy sleep patterns if you can. In general we do well when we have routines," says Bloom. She notes that it's much easier to maintain an existing routine than it is to start one.
For many people, the Granddaddy of all stressors is interacting with family. "We all have our issues with our family," says Bloom. "Holidays are often time when people get mega, mega doses of their family. It can be intense." Her advice to counter family-induced stress: spend time with the people you enjoy.
The American Psychological Association advises people with family issues to be realistic about the situation. "If you have bad feelings about someone, try and avoid him or her and not make an issue of it but don't pretend that all is well. This will enable you to feel true to yourself and less stressed out."
The Mayo Clinic counsels people to set aside grievances until a more appropriate time to discuss them, and to remember that others are likely feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.
To reduce my stress level this year, here's what I'm going to do: Cut my trip to my hometown from 10 days to four. I'm sure the change will greatly reduce my parents' stress level, as well. Happy Holidays, Mom and Dad!How to relax your body
Can knitting really relieve stress? Our resident humorist unwinds this yarn.
Money is a common source of stress and disagreement for couples. Here’s how to keep financial issues from undermining your relationship.
Taking care of aging parents can be a major source of stress. Here’s how to cope.
Dealing with a chronic illness like heart disease or type 2 diabetes can cause depression and stress. Here’s how to cope.
Dealing with traffic jams and rude drivers can turn a daily commute into a stress nightmare. Contain your road rage with these three stress relief tips.
An ancient type of group chanting called Kirtan is giving participants a deep sense of well-being. No singing skills or religious beliefs are required, but the practice can relieve stress.
The original “hyper-chondriac,” author and humorist Brian Frazer muses on why it’s so hard to sit still.
The original “hyper-chondriac,” author and humorist Brian Frazer shows you why it’s good to slow down once in a while.
After recovering from a heart attack, cardiologist Christopher Leet learned firsthand the connection between heart disease and depression.
Taking therapy off the couch and into the gym makes for a physical—and mental – workout.
Napa Valley, California, isn’t only about fine vintages. Local spas are using grape seeds to create an indulgent body massage. They say the seeds can help smooth the skin and have other health benefits.
This stress relief technique from Dr. Herbert Benson can erase negative thoughts and improve your physical and mental well-being.
This simple positive thinking technique from Dr. Herbert Benson can help erase the negative thoughts that are stressing you out.
Practicing simple relaxation techniques developed by Dr. Herbert Benson for a few minutes a day could ease your troubled mind.
Dietitian Carolyn O’Neil comes to the defense of a high-powered attorney whose eating habits have become a real liability. The verdict: A healthy diet to fit even the busiest schedule.