Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scratch Out STRESS

Ever wonder who wrote that holiday tune, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?" I mean, sure, the holidays are great. Family. Friends. Food. Presents. Parties. What's not to like?
Well, there are those family members that you avoid the other 364 days of the year but somehow manage to cross your path in the holiday season. Plus, family and friends could pop in your house at any moment, so there's a need to always keep the house prepared for company. You have to spend a little extra time in the kitchen for food preparation, and there are always tempting goodies around...Ironically, when you have less time to be at the gym, you actually need an extra workout throughout the week... And all of those special people in your life need presents, and who has the money for that? And can you keep a balance between your husband's work party, your Secret Santa exchange that you do with your girlfriends every year, and your kid's soccer team church party? Plus, isn't there a school program for you to be at right now? Oh yeah...there's all of that.
The holidays come, but there doesn't seem to be much rest. Most of us feel like we work just as hard as one of Santa's elves on Christmas Eve. Well, I can't make your extended family stop being weird. I can't give you a raise at work. And I can't change that you have four parties every weekend from now until December. But I can tell you a few things that you can do to reduce your stress as much as possible.
1. Limit the amount of sugar and caffiene that you consume. Stress plus one of these things is a trigger to make your heart flutter even more.
2. Focus on natural forms of food. Bring a bag of fresh fruit and cut up vegetables to snack on during the workday. Learn to take health breaks instead of coffee breaks.
3. Don't slack off on your exercise routine. You need those endorphins to keep going! Skipping the gym will only make you feel more lazy and less in control...especially when you step on the scale and no New Year's Resolution will fix it quickly.
4. Practice deep breathing exercises . It sounds silly, but you can do even when sitting in traffic on the freeway or sitting at your desk at work. It works.
5. Keep a water bottle on your desk to drink throughout the day.
6. During breaks, do shoulder shrugs and neck stretches. Take mini stretch breaks throughout the day.
7. Keep a positive mental attitude. Look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself, "I look good, feel good and am going to have a great day!"
8. Pamper yourself. Taking a bath with epsom salts will act as a natural muscle relaxer and reduce stress.
9. Recognize time as a gift. Commit with a friend to meet and go walking twice a week every day for the next year. Your friendship will grow without shrinking your pocketboom...and you're both getting some exercise.
10. Do something for someone else. Volunteer at a shelter with your family, or provide gifts for a family who can't afford to celebrate this season. Have you ever felt worse after you've helped someone? I didn't think so.