No other time of year brings overwhelm and anxiety like the holidays.
Sure, some stress is natural before a test, performance or job interview. But beyond that, even mild anxiety brings premature death, says a study of 68,000 adults.
And what about the extreme or constant panic countless people feel in November, December and up to early February?
NBC News reports nearly half of Americans would rather skip Christmas because of the $500 to $1000 they feel pressured to spend on gifts.
For many reasons, others feel intense loneliness.
And for those who do have someone to share the holidays with?
It’s often too easy to release all the pent-up distress by screaming at family. And then refusing to talk to “loved ones.”
No wonder bosses lament “presenteeism” in employees who show up for work, but feeling weighed down emotionally, drained of their strength, exhausted.
AllOneHealth, a workplace health organization, says these stress problems often lead to headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, short temper, upset stomach, aching muscles (such as lower back pain) or change in appetite.
How can you make the stress go away?
IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK FROM FAMILY
“To help with this stress, I try to be prepared, knowing who will be there and who triggers hot buttons in others and in me. Knowing I can leave the room or the conversation is good prevention planning.” – Dan Reidenberg, Executive Director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and chair of the American Psychotherapy Association
IT’S EVEN BETTER TO TAKE A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY
“Turn off some of the electronics and sign out… really have some time away. Easier said than done, though.” – Michelle Riba, Associate Director at the University of Michigan Depression Center
SLEEPING FOR 7-9 HOURS EACH NIGHT IS WONDERFUL
Not only does it help keep your sanity, it can even help you lose weight. It seems when we burn the midnight oil, the hormone ghrelin appears and can give us extra munchy cravings the next day.
Having trouble getting your zzz’s?
Lower your bedroom temperature a few degrees. Quit looking at those devices a few hours before bed. (The blue light from displays interferes with your body clock.) And make sure you eat no more than a light meal at least 2 hours before bed.
Both chamomile and rooibos teas are mild sedatives. Why not add a cup to your bedtime routine?
Essential oils are wonderful stress relievers. Some enjoy a few drops of cinnamon diffused in boiling water to create a warm, comforting winter aroma in the home. Scents like lavender, lemon, bergamot, ylang ylang and jasmine also have the power to calm your nerves.
Why does this work? Experts say our sense of smell activates the limbic system in our brain, helping us process emotions, memory and mood.
GO FOR A WALK IN THE WOODS
Scientists are saying newer generations are suffering from a “nature deficit disorder.” At least some studies show a 40-minute walk in the woods can do amazing things for you. Among other benefits, it can slow your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure. All that fresh air can’t be bad.
SCHEDULE A MASSAGE
Treat this important task as a crucial part of your planning for this time of year.
Massage reduces stress “significantly on physical and psychological levels,” says the American Massage Therapy Association. As well as lowering pain, tension and blood pressure.
Why not treat yourself (and even your family) to a blissful experience that helps you cope?
Life takes it out of you. I’d love to help you put it back in.
Call me at 303-920-2350 with any questions, concerns or to find out how massage and essential oils can make life better for you.