Friday, December 12, 2014

Healthy Holidays: 5 tips to reduce holiday stress

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be overwhelming. Take time for yourself and remember what the “happiest time of the year” is really about – sharing time with family and friends, honoring the gifts that fill our lives, and appreciating what we already have. A big impact to our personal health is stress.

Here are some quick ways to reduce stress.

1. Try to take a walk or step outside for a few minutes each day. Lack of light has been well documented to affect moods – make time to step outside into natural light (however diffused that light might seem!) each day. Take ten deep full breathes outside every day, even in the rain! Thurston County has some great trails to explore.

2. The environment around us impacts our health. We spend a lot of time in our homes. There are some easy ways to make your home a healthier environment. Wash blankets and bedding in hot water every week to kill dust mites and germs. Avoid scented items like candles, room sprays, or plug-ins to keep their chemicals out of the air, and bring in fresh air by opening windows for a couple of minutes each day. Bathroom and kitchen fans also help circulate air in the home. For toxic free holiday scents, simmer cinnamon and cloves in water on the stove or hang a fresh holiday wreath or cedar garland.

3. Exercise. Whether it is light, moderate, or intense, exercise can reduce stress levels. Some ideas for daily exercise include: brisk walks, indoor swimming pools, yoga classes, martial arts, dance classes or even just dancing in the living room. Anything that gets you moving helps… even though the couch tempts you for another round of Netflix.

4. Take a break. Giving yourself a break by focusing on something else, like a puzzle or a craft project can give your brain a break from the holiday stress. Perhaps a friendly game of Monopoly, Scrabble, or Jenga will give your household a break together.

5. Lose yourself in a good book! Is there a book you've been meaning to read? There is no better time than now to crack it open.

Being overly stressed can impact your health and well-being. Many studies show the negative impact of stress on our bodies. So do your best to set aside some time to de-stress in a healthy way. 

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