The major holiday months are what we wait for during the other 10 months of the year! The holiday season and the start of a new year marks a time of joy and magic for adults and children alike, filled with warm family memories, a break from school and work, and a little, or a lot, if we’re being honest 😅, indulgence in family recipes and sweet treats.
However, despite all the happiness that tops off the holiday season like a big red bow, the sneaky feelings of stress and anxiety can find their way into the mix, leaving you feeling more like the Grinch and less like yourself.
According to U.S. News & World Report and a survey from the American Psychological Association, “38 percent of people said their stress level increases during the holidays.” Another survey conducted by Healthline, shows that “62 percent of respondents described their stress level as ‘very or somewhat’ elevated during the holidays, while only 10 percent reported no stress during the season.”
While it’s reassuring to know you’re not alone in your feelings, managing and minimizing stress is key to a truly happy and fulfilling holiday season. Join us in going over a few of the ways we like to take our stress levels down a few notches and stay sane during what could possibly be the most stressful time of year. (Also, we’d like to chat with the 10 percent of people who feel no stress during the holidays – how are you doing that!?)
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
This is especially important if you’re planning on having oodles of family crashing at your place for the holidays, or if you’ve volunteered your home as the gathering place for big holiday meals and get togethers! There can be a lot of self-inflicted pressure to be the perfect host or hostess. You don’t have to do it all on your own! You don’t want to feel all that extra stress and pressure, and we bet your loved ones don’t want you to either.
Create Space for Yourself
Speaking of oodles of family, introverts and extroverts alike can agree that sometimes you just need some space to yourself when you have a house full of guests or a million holiday parties to attend in one weekend. Taking time to recharge doesn’t mean you love them any less, it just means that you’re acknowledging that you mentally and physically are in need of a break. So take a break over a cup of coffee or a bag of sunflower seeds. Speaking of…
Get Your Mouth Moving
According to this study published in BioMed Research International, the act of mastication (a fancy word for chewing) is “an effective behavior for coping with stress”, meaning that chewing on gum, a piece of chocolate, or a handful of sunflower seeds, can help lower your stress and anxiety levels. If you opt for low-salt sunflower seeds that are in the shell, not only are you relieving stress by chewing, but you’re also going through the process of removing the seeds from the shell in your mouth, keeping your mind preoccupied on eating rather than the holiday stress. Plus, you get a healthy and delicious snack break! Win/win.
Find a Way Outside (or Maybe to the Gym?)
It really doesn’t take long for the cabin fever to settle in, and if you’re wondering “when was the last time I saw the sun?” it’s time to find your way outside. Staying cooped up indoors seems like the best option when the weather starts to take a turn for the chillier side of things, but being outside gives us all the dopamine and other happy chemicals that help us keep our stress levels at a reasonable level. If it’s just too cold to justify spending more time outside than it takes to walk from the car to the front door, consider heading to the gym or participating in any other physical activity you enjoy to get your blood pumping! It’ll help you manage stress and feel better in both the short term and long term.
At the end of the day, the holidays are meant to be a time of connection, love and celebration, and your experience will be what you make of it! Take a breather, take some space for yourself, and keep in mind that the holidays are just a small part of the entire year. From the Chinook Seedery family to yours, we hope you have a stress free and happy holiday season!