Seasonal Stress Relief

25 Ways to Relax & Rejuvenate over the Holidays – from Team Beachbody

Seasonal Stress Relief

Holiday shopping. Meddling relatives. Taxing travel. The season to be merry can easily turn into the season of stress! But all the holiday hustle doesn’t have to bring on anxiety or keep you from reaching your goals! Too much stress is bad for your health, your family and your business, so read these 25 quick tips to help you relax and stay focused in December.

  1. Smile. When you smile, feel-good chemicals are released into the bloodstream, taking the place of stressful chemicals.1 So smile and watch the world smile back at you. Smiling is also a great way to start a conversation and meet new people.
  2. Take a deep breath. The act of deep breathing allows your mind to focus on the present moment and stop the worry train. Take a deep inhalation through your nose, allowing your lungs to fill up completely, and as you exhale through your nose, visually your stress floating away.
  3. Calm music. Relaxing music’s long, slow, spaced-out beats require less energy for the brain to process, and its predictive structure can be almost meditative.
  4. Call a friend. Research suggests that people who have close ties with friends and family are all around happier, healthier people. Hearing the comforting sound of a loved one can help make a stressful situation less so.2 It can also help boost your business!
  5. Visualize. Whether you take a few minutes to visualize a serene setting that you’d love to be in, or imagine what the life of your dreams looks like, visualization gives your mind a break from the stress you’re feeling and helps you keep sight of your goals.
  6. Scream. This is a quick, harmless way to relieve pressure that has built up. When you are all worked up, sometimes the best way to relax is to let it out.
  7. Make to-do lists. Knowing what needs to be done can help you navigate what you need to do for the day, and it allows you to focus on the tasks at hand and not on remembering all of them. As you finish them, check them off. At the end of the day, you’ll see how much you have really accomplished and how much closer you are to achieving your goals. Making this list the night before can even lead to a less stressful morning.
  8. Focus on the positive. Some researchers believe that your thoughts can affect your physical body. Anxious, sad, and angry thoughts can make your entire body feel more stressed because they cause the brain to release the stress hormones, while pleasant, peaceful thoughts can make the body feel less stressed because they can cause the brain to release the pleasure hormones dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.
  9. Relax your muscles. Focus on one muscle at a time; tense it for a few seconds then relax it and notice that sensation of relaxing. Begin at the top of your body and work your way all the way down until your body is completely relaxed.
  10. Play a game. Getting together with a group of friends to play catch, engage in a board game, or jam out on Rock Band® will take your mind off what’s causing you stress, at least for a little while.
  11. Aromatherapy. Research has proven that lavender, chamomile, and sage all have stress relieving properties when taken in through the olfactory system. Burn a scented candle, use an oil diffuser, drink some tea, or bring those herbs into your space to lower your blood pressure.3
  12. Laugh. Laughing gets endorphins and dopamine coursing through the bloodstream. These feel-good chemicals will help you feel happy and relaxed.4
  13. Get a good night’s sleep. Staying up too late can cause one to wake tired and depleted, and even everyday tasks will take more time and energy. Sleep is essential.
  14. Journal. Mental health professionals currently promote journaling as a proper behavioral technique to reducing stress. Get the anxiety and negative emotions going on inside your brain onto paper. That way it doesn’t weigh down the mind.5
  15. Have a cup of tea. Chamomile tea to be exact. Chamomile tea has calming agents that can relax the body both through breathing them in and drinking them.
  16. Take a hot bath. Soaking in a hot bath relaxes the muscles that tense up every time stress hits the body. Ease them by slipping into a warm tub for a half hour or more.
  17. Go for a walk. When it’s too much, step away from it and get some fresh air into your lungs. Even a short, five-minute walk can help give you a fresh perspective and relieve stress.
  18. Plan something fun for the future. When you’re under a lot of pressure, this can give you a light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to. The Success Club trip to Walt Disney World could be the perfect antidote!
  19. Get sweaty. Whether your preference is P90X®, INSANITY ® or the soon to be LES MILLS COMBAT, research proves exercise relieves stress. In fact, research also shows that if you have a hard workout right before bed, you’ll get longer, more restorative sleep.6
  20. Be affectionate. People who kiss, touch, and hug produce less stress hormone and more feel-good chemicals than those who do not. When we are touched, our brain gets a signal that we have someone else helping us and sharing the burden of stress. That feeling triggers our body to relax.8,9
  21. Tell a joke. Step away from the seriousness of the stress you’re under and share a joke with someone else. You’ll improve his or her day and you’ll get the satisfaction of bringing joy to someone else.
  22. Create a mantra. Negative self-talk can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Create a positive mantra instead such as: “I live in a loving, peaceful world” or “It feels like a lot, but I can handle it. I’ve done it before and I can do it again.” Or simply remind yourself that you are “helping people achieve their goals and enjoy healthy, fulfilling lives.”
  23. Have a dance party. Pump up the volume and break out any move that feels good. You might feel silly, but the combination of exercise and feel-good music will put you in a better frame of mind.
  24. Stretch. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your body tenses up immediately and quite often does not relax unless you consciously make an effort to relax it. Stretching is a great way to relax those tense muscles. Stretch several times a day. Your body will thank you.
  25. Play with your pet. Research suggests that people with animals live longer, happier lives. Dogs love to lavish you with bouncy attention and some cats are content to rest in your lap for hours. Either way, their unconditional love will ease your stress.11

Resources:

  1. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=smile-it-could-make-you-happier
  2. Scherer, K. R. (2003). Vocal communication of emotion: A review of research paradigms. Speech communication, 40(1), 227-256.
  3. Motomura N, Sakurai A, Yotsuya Y. Reduction of mental stress with lavender odorant. Percept Mot Skills. 2001 Dec;93(3):713-8.
  4. Bennett MP, Zeller JM, Rosenberg L, McCann J. The Effect of Mirthful Laughter on Stress and Natural Killer Cell Activity. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, March-April 2003
  5. Richardson, K. M., & Rothstein, H. R. (2008). Effects of occupational stress management intervention programs: a meta-analysis. Journal of occupational health psychology, 13(1), 69.
  6. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-and-stress/SR00036
  7. Eckardt, M. J., File, S. E., Gessa, G. L., Grant, K. A., Guerri, C., Hoffman, P. L., … & Tabakoff, B. (1998). Effects of Moderate Alcohol Consumption on the Central Nervous System*. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 22(5), 998-1040.
  8. Carey, B. (2010). Evidence that little touches do mean so much. The New York Times.
  9. Harlow, H.F. The nature of love. American Psychologist, 1958, 13, 673-685.
  10. Brody, S. (2006). Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile–vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity. Biological Psychology, 71(2), 214-222.
  11. Siegel JM, Angulo FJ, Detels R, Wesch J, Mullen A. AIDS diagnosis and depression in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study: the ameliorating impact of pet ownership. AIDS Care. April 1999.

 

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