Thriving with Love.Life

Anxious? Overwhelmed? 3 Ways to Bust Holiday Stress

2 min read

It’s no secret that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can bring on feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. These feelings can lead to poor sleep and emotional eating, both of which can impact your health long past December. Here are some expert-approved skills that can help prevent and treat stress during the holiday season.

1. Time Blocking
Time blocking is a time-management technique that helps you create more balance in your week by scheduling your days to include productive time, restorative time, and socialization.

  • Make a list of the things you must do each week, such as meal preparation and holiday shopping, restorative tasks, such as meditation or painting, and the things you want to do, such as holiday parties or dinners. Give each task a time allotment. If the task has two parts such as buying food for meal preparation and then preparing the food, give each part a time allotment.  
  • Next, look at your free time for the week and identify a few blocks of time that will be productive time, a few blocks of time that will be restorative, and a few blocks that will be socializing time. Fill in the identified time blocks with your categorized to-do list.
  • If you run out of time, you are forced to make choices to change out parts of the time blocks for others or shift something to the following week. Ideally each should contain at least one time block for productive, restorative, and socializing time. This is a helpful way to make sure you have time for productive, self-care, and fulfillment tasks while keeping balance in your week.  

2. 4-7-8 Breathwork

Studies show that breathwork, particularly extended exhale techniques such as 4-7-8 breathwork, can help move the body out of fight-or-flight and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. 

  • This technique involves breathing in for a count of 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds at the top of the inhale, and exhaling for 8 seconds. The extended exhale helps you take in more oxygen in the inhale and promotes relaxation and stimulation of your parasympathetic nervous system. 

3. Reframing with Gratitude

Gratitude is one component of positive psychology that decreases stress and can lower blood pressure. While gratitude is often baked into mealtime prayers of thanks, morning mantras, or journaling, reframing stressors with gratitude can be a helpful practice to break up holiday stress.  

  • Try framing your growing to-do list with “get to” instead of “have to.” Phrases such as “We have the privilege of having dinner with my spouse’s friends this week. I’m thankful for quality time with friends,” can be an effective way to fold in gratitude to something that may be a holiday stressor.  

We hope that these tips have helped you celebrate the holiday season stress free. For more support with stress management, speak with a Love.Life provider today.

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