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Managing Stress This Holiday Season

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As beautiful and magical as the holiday season ought to be, it is often tainted with, none other than, stress. We are shopping, wrapping, entertaining, getting entertained, dealing with increased traffic, mingling with family, traveling, braving the elements—phew—and I’ve just scratched the surface! Talk about stressful!

Most of us, at this time of the year, tend to prioritize everything except ourselves. This, ultimately, mounts on the stress and can do a doozy on our ability to really enjoy. But the holidays are meant to be enjoyed! To keep the stress levels to a low roar, here are a few tips:

1. Build in You-Time
Giving yourself alone-time and time to decompress...will give your mind and body the rest it needs to go full-steam ahead the rest of the time. At least once a week, do one of the following (or anything else that gives you the break you crave): Take a bath, get a massage, do yoga or meditate, take a walk in a non-crowded place.

2. Say No
Be especially vigilant about saying “no” when you need to. Be cognizant of what is realistic to include in your schedule and for what time permits. Don’t beat yourself up for saying “no.” Taking care of yourself will allow you to get what you need to get done and allow you to take care of others when it is really necessary.

3. Shop Online
Shopping online has many advantages over shopping in the stores. Staying at home, and shopping in your PJs will help reduce a lot of stress.

4. Have a Cocktail
In all seriousness, having a little holiday cocktail may help to relax your nerves and ease some of your stress. Try to limit yourself to one or two, for too much drinking can bring on a whole different type of stress.

5. Maintain a Healthy Regimen
Although your regimen may slip a little, maintaining some healthy balance when it comes to exercise and eating right is important to managing stress. Exercise, especially, releases stress, while eating healthy will help maintain regularity and optimal levels of energy throughout this hectic season.

6. Sleep
Sleep allows our bodies to rejuvenate and rebuild itself for the next day.

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I think this is really good and important advice...stress can have so many negative impacts on the body, as well as on one's relationship with other people such as friends and family, and negative impacts on one's job and career as well.

To throw in a few more recommendations, drinking herbal teas can be a great way to relax. But...not all herbal teas are equal for this purpose. I've been researching and summarizing evidence on the health effects of various teas a lot recently, and two of the best candidates I've found are:

Chamomile Tea - Long thought to have a relaxing effect, chamomile has also been found in a scientific study to be more relaxing than just drinking hot water.
Holy Basil / Tulsi Tea - Less well-known in the U.S., but very important in Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India), this plant is also thought to have a relaxing effect when you drink it as tea. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that this plant may be able to prevent some of the damage to your body caused by stress.

Also, in addition to drinking herbal teas, it might be worth looking at green tea. Certain green teas are high in L-theanine, an amino acid thought to promote relaxation. And, if you need your daily dose of caffeine for alertness sake, tea was found to disrupt sleep less than coffee--it contains less caffeine but makes one equally alert. This is true of all teas, even stronger black teas or high-caffeine green or white teas tend to have less caffeine than coffee.

December 30, 2009 - 4:58pm
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