We noticed during Thanksgiving week a marked rise in the number of customers who seemed really stressed out!
I guess the holidays aren't always happy. In fact they can be highly stressful. If you've got endless presents to buy, a budget to keep to, a houseful of guests and Christmas dinner for twelve, you may want to fast forward to January 1.
But there are many simple things experts recommend to have a relaxed and successful holiday!
Five ways to de-stress yourself this holiday season
- Listen to classical music
Research from the Science University of Tokyo shows that classical music is helpful at reducing levels of anxiety and stress. It has been shown to slow down the heart beat, which helps people to relax and stimulates the part of the brain which is connected with emotional activity and sleep.
Being soothed in this way encourages our mind to concentrate on relaxing muscles and helps us to breathe evenly and more deeply. In contrast, livlier music speeds up the heart beat and encourages movement.
At Hereford General Hospital in the UK, doctors use Mozart flute music in the operating theatre as a way of soothing patients on the table.
- Laugh and Play Outside
If tension is running high - and a family fight is about to erupt on Christmas Day - suggest playing a game, or going outside for a family walk says stress consultant Carole Spiers.
Laughter is a great stress reliever, claims Spiers, because the simple action of laughter forces our muscles to relax, which in turn, gets rid of lactic acid which builds up under our muscles creating tension.
Being outdoors with fresh air and rapid movement causes the release of endorphins.
Scientific evidence shows that laughing keeps you healthy and can ward off heart disease. Research from the University of Maryland in Baltimore found that those patients with heart conditions were 40 per cent less likely to laugh than their healthy counterparts.
Several studies show that laughter produces endorphins, natural chemicals that ease pain and produce a feeling of euphoria, helping us cope with physical stress and chronic pain.
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- Cut Down On Caffeine
Not my favorite suggestion, but I'll take it!
Did you know that caffeine accentuates the stress response? It increases the heart rate, blood pressure and ultimately makes it difficult to relax, which is what we need to do when we are stressed. You might think you need that chemical jolt to get you through your "to-do" list, but instead of reaching for that extra cup of Joe or can of jitter juice, choose hot apple cider, herbal teas or a decaffeinated version of your favorite warm beverage.
In fact, why not take an hour or two away from your hectic schedule to take a real English-style tea break, complete with finger sandwiches and chat-time with your friends!
- A Bouquet a Day
Clinical Researcher in Psychology at Harvard Medical School Nancy L. Etcoff studies women of various ages and backgrounds as bouquets of fresh flowers were brought into their environment. The delight was instantaneous.
Etcoff said she now plans to study in depth the effects of flowers in the workplace on human emotions.
- Volunteer for a Charity
All for Good is a great place to get a local list of volunteer options.
And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Winter Solstice/Yule/Diwali/Sadeh/Saturnalia/Bodhi Day/Festivus
or whatever you celebrate this season!!!
Happy Holidays Every One!