How To Manage Stress This Holiday Season

Many people are gearing up for the winter holidays. And while the impending activities are exciting and can bring a sense of joy, the season can also become overwhelming and stressful. Stress is unavoidable, but for some, it can be debilitating. According to the World Health Organization, stress is the body's response to anything that requires attention or action. Everyone experiences stress to some degree, but the way we respond to stress makes a big difference to our overall well-being.

To help those coping with stress during the holiday season, here are some of the best strategies for destressing during this holiday season:

•Move your body. You can stretch, go for a walk, or even jump up and down. Whatever you can do to get your body moving to increase blood flow.
•Take time for yourself. We all need a little time to ourselves to do something we like to do. Having the opportunity to step away will allow us to be more present, focused and relaxed when we come back.
•Delegate tasks. You do not have to wrap all the presents, organize every holiday activity, or cook the whole holiday meal. Seek help from those around you to help take some of the responsibility off your plate.
•Prioritize exercise and eating right. Exercise has been proven to relieve stress and boost your mood. A nutrient-dense diet has been associated with lower stress. However, caffeine has been shown to increase cortisol and, therefore aid in moving your body toward a stressed state.
•Connect with friends and family. Pick up the phone and meet someone for lunch.
•Work on reframing your problems. Reframing is a strategy that people can use, either on their own or in therapy, to help adjust their mindset. It often involves focusing on more positive thoughts, but it can also be centered on changing excessively high expectations to be more realistic.
•Visit healthy stress-relieving atmospheres. For many people, a place to go like the YMCA provides many stress relievers, from exercise, to socialization, to community engagement and more. To learn more about our local Y, visit www.clevelandymca.org.

In situations in which the stressor is overwhelming and cannot be resolved, stress becomes chronic. If you have felt in a heightened state of stress for a prolonged time, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. Talk to your loved ones and let them know that there is too much on your plate and you need some relief or help. And don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek professional help if your symptoms worsen.

Listen to your body to acknowledge when you’re under stress, use these tips to help lessen the effects and enjoy the holidays!

Erin Tory is a wellness director and personal training specialist for the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.

Daijha Johnson

Erin Tory is a wellness director and personal training specialist for the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.

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Volume 18, Issue 24, Posted 7:26 PM, 12.21.2022