With the holiday season upon us, here are some helpful tips to help alleviate stress and keep off that dreaded holiday weight gain.
Elevate self-care to its highest priority at all times. A well-rested, nourished and fit body sees the world through calmer glasses, no matter what's going on. When life does get hectic and stressful, or a crisis occurs, resist the urge to think you don't have time to take care of yourself. The best way to cope and protect your body against stress is to take exceptional care of yourself.
Identify the source of your stress. Fix the simple stuff. Work on the tough stuff. I encourage you to keep a stress diary for a week or two, and then ask yourself some important questions:
• What is it that's really causing my stress? Is it within my circle of influence?
• Is there a way I can shift my perspective and see the opportunity here?
• What action steps can I take right now to alleviate some of the sources of the stress?
Make an appointment for some "me" time every day. Many will turn to some pretty self-sabotaging methods to handle stress, such as overeating, oversleeping, drinking to intoxication, numbing by watching too much TV, or just procrastinating. Take a short break to nourish your spirit instead by trying meditation, taking a walk outside or reading a good book. Figure out what works for you and schedule it into your day.
Learn the skills of time management and practice them until they become habits. Poor time management skills are a huge cause of stress for so many people. There are wonderful books and professionals who can help you in this arena. If your stress diary clearly shows that you are not managing your time well, commit to working on that area for change.
Stop multi-tasking on important things. Running around trying to do a hundred things at once puts our bodies into fight-or-flight mode. Rather than accomplishing what we need to do, we end up making mistakes, producing sloppy work, or forgetting things that inevitably leave us feeling more stressed. Focus on one task at a time, get it done, and move on.
Use technology to your advantage, not your detriment. Being accessible 24/7 may seem convenient or time-saving, but for many, it can become highly stressful. Set a specific time to read and answer emails rather than responding to them all day and all evening. Let the voicemail pick up calls while you are working. Shut your phone off before entering your home in the evening. You might even benefit from a technology-free day once a week.
Nurture your relationships. They are the backbone of our happiness. When life is busy, and we are stressed, we often neglect those we care about the most. Plan a date night with your partner, have lunch with a friend, or call someone who makes you laugh.
Take a mini-vacation. Don't wait for the once a year vacation to unwind and relax. An afternoon away, one night out of town, or even just an hour escape for a massage will refresh and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit, allowing you to face the world with a more buoyant attitude.
Surround yourself with positive people. Wherever possible, spend time with people who are optimistic and energizing, not those who are filled with negativity and gloom.
Stay in the present moment. When we ruminate on the past, it usually makes us feel sad or angry. When we focus on the future, it usually causes us worry and concern. Reduce stress by taking enjoyment of whatever is happening in the now.
Concentrate your energies on the things you can control and impact, and let the rest go.
Try to find the humor in life's ironies. Don't take yourself so seriously!
Try some or all of the above tips, to reduce stress and improve your everyday life.
For additional support and tips, join Dr. Willo Wisotsky at our next In-Person or Online Support Group! Click here to register!