Managing Stress during the Holidays …

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

'tis the season to be … jolly, merry and happy but as the holiday frenzy inches closer to its peak, the season subtly morphs into being the season of frustration, pressure and stress for many of us! We here in Sparkland know, too well, the devastating effect increased levels of stress can have on our efforts to live a healthier lifestyle and manage our weight. In light of this fact, the first of the ten weekly challenges of the Biggest Loser Winter Challenge requires us to post a blog or write on our team’s chat thread three things that may help us to successfully manage our stress levels during the Holidays.

Holiday stress may seem to be inevitable, but we can certainly minimize it by identifying our stress triggers, prioritizing our activities and setting certain boundaries. For me, the stress triggers come wrapped up in having a perfectionist mindset, financial constraints and inefficient time management. These three always wreathe the end of year holidays activities for us but this season, with my family undergoing some major changes, the potential for my stress level climbing as if it intends to meet Santa at the north pole is no laughing matter! Knowing this, I have made a priority list - and yes, I have checked it more than twice and I know that when the festivity is over some will think that I am “naughty” and others that I am “nice” but that’s fine … nothing is more important than my health and my sanity and I plan to keep these intact while enjoying the most wonderful time of the year!

Some of the things I have been doing to ensure that I have myself a merry little Christmas include:
1. Ditching the “perfect holiday” syndrome and keeping things simple and realistic. I am not stressing myself to have a “perfect” holiday with idyllic images as seen on television or in the magazines. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus but I don’t need chestnuts roasting on an open fire; I don’t even need a Christmas tree with shining lights and silver bells! All I want for Christmas is being with family and friends. This is what makes me the happiest.
2. keeping my Holidays spending budget under control. I have shelved the holiday “shop till you drop” mentality and have also called a truce between me and Santa Claus so now I don’t feel like I have to get every Tom, Dick and Harry or Mary, Jane and Sue a present. I am making strides in sticking to my spending limit by cutting down on the number of people on my gift list and learning to be creative and savvy in regards to trimming the holiday bills while spreading holiday cheers.
3. Learning to quit dashing around like Santa’s reindeer by not over-scheduling myself to too many of the activities that are associated with this festive season. In addition, I have made it a priority to devote specific time for myself each day for taking care of my fitness and nutrition needs and for rest and relaxation.

Yes, the holiday season can be very stressful but if we keep the reason for the season in mind, be realistic and keep our sense of humor in drive, we will keep our sanity and be able to savor the joys and spirit of the holidays. So my friends, whether or not your halls are decked with boughs of hollies, you will be rocking around the Christmas tree or, simply enjoying the calm silent night I take this opportunity to wish you all ….

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