Are the holidays getting you down? It is not unusual for the holiday season to be stressful for many people. While spending time with family during the holidays can be wonderful, there are several stressors you could face. Some stressors include travel, family drama, and not knowing what to purchase for friends, family or coworkers. Now that the Christmas weekend is over, you would think the stress would be reduced. Not so fast. The credit card bills and your bank statement will be arriving in a few days to remind you of your financial overindulgence.
Chronic Stress is Dangerous
Stress causes a hormone called cortisol to course through your bloodstream. While this hormone has many health benefits, your body will be harmed by repeated stressor events and not having time for your body to return to its natural state through relaxation. Placing your body in a state of chronic stress is dangerous. With all this added stress, you are subject to lower immunity, inflammation, high blood pressure, and potential heart-related issues. It is imperative that your body has an opportunity to relax.
You can relax in many ways. Sitting in front of the television and binge watching The Walking Dead can have a benefit to lowering your stress; unless you’re overly invested in any of the characters and they keep dying off. However, it is better if you have an established, scheduled relaxation techniques to consistently return your body to a relaxed state. What can you do to ease some of the stress in your life? We’ll spend a few minutes going over relaxation techniques that should help you reduce your stress to a manageable level.
The first of the relaxation techniques is solitude. Throughout the holiday season, you’ve likely spent lots of time with friends, family, and random strangers in shopping malls. Now that the shopping is done, and all the wrapping paper has been tossed in the trash, it is time to be alone. Even if all you have is a few moments, steal that time to be alone and embrace it. Relax!
Deep breathing is a great way to calm your mind and relieve your stress. Two of the best things about deep breathing include that it is free and that you can do it anywhere. You don’t’ need any special equipment. All you need to do is take in a large breath through your nose while making your stomach expand. Hold for several seconds and then breath out with your stomach flattening. If your chest or shoulders are rising you are breathing wrong.
Another great relaxation technique is listening to music. There are certain types of music that are generally considered more relaxing such as classic or rhythmic music. However, the type of music doesn’t really matter. If you enjoy a certain type of music that others might find irritating, that doesn’t mean you should listen to the music to relax. Each person is different. If rock music relaxes and soothes you, then that is your relaxation music to lower your stress level.
Get out and do something fun. Having fun and laughing are great ways to relieve stress. Walking your dog or scratching your cat’s ears might be relaxing for you. Someone else could enjoy going for a cycle ride or jogging. Others might enjoy watching standup comedians or taking their kids to the park and playing a monster.
Another of the relaxation techniques that work for many people is meditation. There are many forms of meditation, so if the first one doesn’t feel right for you, try a different way. The main thing is to focus on the present and relax.
Now that the Christmas weekend is over, take some time to unwind and relax. You need to take care of yourself. Don’t let your holiday stress get you down and lead to chronic stress or a steady stream of coughs and colds.