Have you noticed that the holidays seem to bring out the best and the worst in people (including yourself)? It’s normal to have some very joyful wonderful moments right next to some very sad and angry moments. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and want to cry. It’s also normal to be exhausted and overly critical and all the other things you hate about yourself at the holidays. Cut yourself some slack. People tell me all the time that they think they must be crazy when everyone else is so happy and they just feel mad or sad. You’re not alone. I’d bet that the others around you are feeling very much the same, they just didn’t want to say so.

Have you taken on some extra tasks for the holidays? Maybe you’re organizing the work holiday party or your neighborhood party. Maybe you’re volunteering at school or heading a gift drive for less fortunate children. Maybe you’re spending a couple of days at a food bank. These are all adding to your stress level.

On top of that, you may have family or friends coming into town or to your house for a few days. You may be buying gifts and planning menus and have a cold and you still haven’t found the box with the decorations in it that you know was in the garage.

How do you reduce your stress level so that you can be more prepared to deal with the upsets and frustrations that are inevitable at this time of year?

The most important thing to do is to take some time out for yourself every day. Go for a quiet walk, drink coffee in the den while you watch the morning news, take a nap, turn off your phone, hide out in your bedroom while you check e-mails. Do whatever you need to do to let off steam and have some time alone with your thoughts.

Another way to reduce your stress level is to stick to your schedule as much as possible, even on days off. Wake up and go to sleep at approximately the same time as usual, eat meals at the same time, do things you normally do in a day. This will keep you from putting undue stress on your body and your brain.

And don’t forget to exercise. Not only are you eating more by going to holiday meals and parties, but your spending less time doing active things if you’re like most of us. Stick to your exercise plan as much as possible. Go to the gym, hike or go for a run, take a yoga class, ski, play with your pets. Do the things that make your body feel good.

For other ways of reducing stress, visit our website and read our blogs or call us to set up an appointment for a consultation.