While many would agree ’tis the season to be jolly, for some it is also the season to feel totally stressed and overwhelmed—and with reason, health experts say. Holiday tasks and responsibilities, added to daily work and home routines, can certainly take their toll.
Health Magazine editors rounded up useful tips from doctors and psychologists to help even the busiest Christmas elves stay cool, calm and collected:
Get some sunlight. It stimulates production of feel-good serotonin and helps relieve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is common during the cold, dark winter season. Try spending some time outdoors or working near a window on sunny days.
Go for citrus. Researchers have found that certain citrus fragrances alleviate stress and boost feelings of well-being by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange oil on a handkerchief to keep in your pocket.
Walk away from stress. The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on the brain, wellness experts say. A short walk once or twice a day may relieve tension and improve sleep.
Squeeze here. The fleshy part of your hand between the thumb and the index finger is called the Hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. Applying firm pressure there for just 30 seconds may reduce tension in your upper body.
Laugh more. Laughing has been proven to relieve stress and help immune cells function better. Watch a funny movie, search for silly jokes online or get together with friends who crack you up.
Take on less, delegate more. This may be the year you do more of your shopping online instead of navigating the mall. It could also be the year you put your teenager in charge of addressing Christmas cards and your youngest in charge of setting the table.
Forget perfection. Don’t obsess if the house is cluttered or dinner is late or errands need to be run. Don’t sweat the small stuff, psychologists advise—and it really is all small stuff—and your holidays will be much more enjoyable.
Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia.