Saturday, December 1, 2018

Three Ways to Manage Holiday (or any day) Stress

Mom2MomEd Blog: 3 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress
The holidays are fast approaching, and already I'm starting to feel holiday specific stress creep into my daily life.

How about you?

My to-do list is growing.
My budget is straining.
Old family tensions are, sadly, rearing their ugly heads.
Travel plans need to be finalized.
Gifts need to be bought.

I truly love winter and the associated holidays, but I also find this time of year to be trying and stressful. This year, I'm trying something new. I'm using three methods to help control my stress levels going into Thanksgiving and Christmas.

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Lately, I've been tired. Exhausted even. And, the more tired I feel, the more stressed out I get. It occurred to me recently that I'm not drinking enough water. I pound back coffee all day, but hardly ever reach for a glass of H2O.

Last week, I started making it a point to begin my day with a tall glass of plain water, to have another at midday, and yet another while I'm preparing dinner. I may not necessarily hit the daily recommended 6 to 8 glass per day, but I'm getting a lot more than I had been.

And, I'm feeling a big difference! When I'm hydrated, I have more energy. When I have more energy, I can get more done. And, when I can get more done, I'm a lot less stressed!

2. Stretch!
Along with not being well hydrated, I've also felt tight in my shoulders and joints. That tightness gets worse as I get stressed out which in turn increases my stress and then increases the tightness. It's a vicious cycle.

So, after I drink my big glass of morning water, I stretch. I just do a few simple moves--reaching to the floor, stretching overhead, flexing my feet and hands, and stretching and rolling my neck. It takes hardly any time at all, and it makes me feel so much better!

A good stretch at bedtime--or when I feel stressed or tired--also helps me to sleep better, and sleep is essential!

3. Manage my sleep habits
You can't function well without enough sleep and lack of sleep directly impacts your stress levels! When I'm tired, I'm cranky. I'm stressed. I'm frazzled. Everything seems so much harder! I've been working on my sleep habits for a long time, and a few specific bedtime habits are starting to stick and I've noticed the payoffs with better quality, deeper sleep. That, in turn, has led to more energy and a better attitude during the day.

The biggest game changers for my sleep habits include:
  • Using an eye mask
  • Using light blocking curtains
  • Putting my phone across the room
  • Using an air filtration system next to my bed
The eye mask and light blocking curtains have helped to create a cocoon like feel in my bedroom and allow me to limit bits of light that I might not be fully aware of but that keep me from sleeping deeply regardless.

And, we all know what a sleep-drain having your phone near the bed can be!

The air filter provides both cleaner air and a steady, noise canceling hum.

These habits are particularly important for managing my stress during the holidays, but they also are useful all year long.

What habits help you to manage your holiday stress levels? Any tips you've found to be tried and true? Or, what have you tried that has been an utter failure?

Here are some of the products I like best for improving my hydration, for stretching, and for getting a better night's sleep:

If you buy the air filter, you can get replacement filters on a subscription basis from Amazon! It's so easy to just set up the subscription schedule and forget about it. No need to remember to replace the filters or put it on your calendar since they are delivered directly to your door on a schedule you choose. Because I have three dogs and a cat, I change my filters every other month, but if you have no pets, you could replace yours far less frequently.

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