From the crowds at shopping malls to the diet-busting parties, we understand how easy it is to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year. So, we compiled some tips to help you stay happy, healthy, and energized.

 

  1. Find some time for yourself – Develop a regular practice to ground and relax you. If possible, start and end the day with prayer, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or even petting the cat or listening to soothing music. Even five minutes will give you some balance against the day’s stresses.
  2. Eat breakfast – Start the day off right with nutrients that will carry you through the morning. And think about including mango – research shows that the sweet fruit can send a wave of calm over your body. Plus, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can cause blood sugar levels to spike, which can cause attention problems and irritability.
  3. Walk away from worries – Experts say that the rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, decreases anxiety, and helps you sleep. Whether you walk alone to clear your head or as a family for some quality time together, the activity can boost your mood. And that leads us to…
  4. Get some sun – Sunlight stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which impacts millions of Americans every year. To ease symptoms, spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days.
  5. Take a whiff of citrus – Researchers have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket.
  6. Turn up the tunes – Anxious? Listen to your favorite music, whether it’s Jingle Bell Rock or the latest from Jay-Z. Research from the University of Maryland shows that hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. That not only calms you down but is good for your heart, too.
  7. Savor a spicy meal – If your heart and stomach can take it, hot foods trigger the release of endorphins—the natural chemicals that trigger feelings of euphoria and well-being.
  8. Notice little moments of beauty – Notice beauty around you and take a moment to breathe it in. Same with a smile, a gracious act, a loving gesture. Practicing gratitude for these small moments of daily life is a powerful way to de-stress – and it’s contagious, too!
  9. Organize something – It’s not as crazy as it sounds. When life feels out of control, picking up the kids toys or taking a moment to wrap a gift nicely leaves you feeling like you’ve taken the reins again—and that can unload stress.
  10. Think positive – The holidays may drive you to your breaking point, but don’t focus on the bad. Negative thinking can trigger your body’s stress response, just as a real threat does. Remember, it’s time to celebrate with your family and friends (even if they do stress you out!). An optimistic outlook will help you cope with challenges that come your way.

 

(Tips compiled from Health magazine, Spirituality & Practice and Focus on the Family)