The holiday season is fast approaching. Traditionally, it is a time spent with family and friends, a time to be thankful, a time to celebrate, a time of much joy and happiness, a time to re-establish goals and evaluate life’s course.
However, more and more often it is turning into something of a more stressful nature. Firstly it’s the lack ofs; the lack of time or lack of money then it’s the increased pressure from your nearest and dearest to meet certain obligations. Needless to say, this takes the fun out of it!
To avoid the toxic buildup of said stressors it is important that we find ways to reduce the impact of silly season stress so that it does not follow us into the new year.
It is important to act now; there is no time like the present. Your mind and body will thank you later. Many of the effects of stress are accumulative due to the chronic build up of pressure from a wide variety of stressors. Building resilience now, both mental and physical, will ensure you have a better ability to overcome silly season stress more effectively.
The following are some tips and tricks that you can implement to help reduce silly season stress. Remember, without good self-care, the effects of stress and anxiety can be exacerbated.
- Ensure a diet rich in nutrient dense foods. Eliminate processed and refined foods, unhealthy fats and sugars. The silly season is the perfect excuse to have that extra piece of pavlova or that extra glass of champagne. While this is not a problem once in a while, overindulging on a consistent basis can lead to you feeling sluggish and fatigued and can predispose you to further stress and health conditions. Ensure you’re getting adequate leafy greens and protein. Try and eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables of varying colours every day. This way you are exposing yourself to as many different nutrients as possible.
- Avoid alcohol or enjoy in small quantities. Alcohol can exacerbate the stress response. It also disturbs our sleep patterns and can inhibit healthy food choices. If you aren’t drinking but feel like you would like to join in, try making some of your own naturally flavoured sparkling water with fresh citrus, herbs and berries.
- Move often. Movement provides many benefits, aside from the obvious physical wellbeing. This time of year the weather is lovely, making the addition of movement something that cannot be excused easily. If you’re feeling the stress, ease up on the high intensity workouts and focus more on walking, swimming meditation, yoga and pilates, which are more calming for your central nervous system. A simple walk, stretch or swim can help clear the mind, reduce stress and anxious response and can help induce good, restful sleep. If you can, try doing your movement outdoors for extra inspiration from our natural environment.
- Ensure good, restful sleep. Try and go to bed by 10pm. Remember the old saying “every hour before midnight is worth 2 after!”. Aim for around 8-10 hours per night. When we don’t get enough sleep, our stress response is reduced. However, getting too much sleep isn’t a particular good thing either! If you are having trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm epsom salt bath. This is a grounding practice and can help ease stress and relax the body, often inducing sleep.