December 17, 2018

Priscilla Widmer, B.A., Psychology Intern

Ever feel like the holidays put a damper on your spirit? Although some people are swept up in
the joy and excitement of the holiday craze, some may slip into a stressful state of mind. Keeping
up with the cooking, cleaning, party prepping and gift buying can take quite a huge toll on our
physical and mental well-being. We end up feeling stressed with this heavy load on our
shoulders, which could ultimately ruin our holidays. Following the wise words of Agatha
Christie, “To every problem, there is a most simple solution”! Here are some simple tips to help
ease those stressful moments throughout the holidays and help one bask in the joy of family,
food and festivities!

1. Taking Belly Breaths
On a daily basis, we might not be constantly thinking about how our breathing impacts us. When
we’re stressed or anxious, the way in which we breathe becomes quick and shallow. By
breathing slowly and deeply, with the belly rising and falling after every inhale and exhale, this
will bring us to be feel physically and mentally relaxed.

2. Sweat, Smile and Repeat
Think about the time where there was one or two stressful moments during the holiday season.
Was exercise involved that day? Even though we all know that we can reap the benefits from any
kind of physical activity, we rarely think to what degree the impact of exercising can have on our
mental health. Try yoga, skiing, skating, aerobics or simply walking in the snow outside! This
will help lower stress hormones and increase endorphins, which will in turn create a great sense of
relief for the mind and body.

3. Forgetting Perfection
Perfectionism can be exhausting. People tend to get caught up in things being perfect for the
holidays, that we forget one major thing: that no one and nothing can be perfect in life. If we
walk around thinking we won’t feel truly happy until we do everything right, then stress will
eventually override one’s life as well as the holidays. Try to take one deep breath, look at all the
positives in life, and accept that life is imperfectly perfect!

4. Reconnect with Yourself
During the holidays, we might feel as though we need to be active all the time. People sometimes
tend to go above and beyond to please others, such as going overboard with shopping, cooking,
and attending every holiday event. During stressful times, it’s important to learn to say no at least
once and reclaim some time for yourself. Taking even 10 minutes per day to enjoy a moment,
going for a stroll, having a soothing cup of tea, reading a magazine or even enjoying a luxurious
bubble bath with a bath bomb! So go ahead, give yourself a little break. Carving out some time
throughout the day for yourself will not only help you reconnect, but it can lead you to become
a more resilient person and help you savor the holidays!