We are about two weeks away from Christmas. For many this is a happy and joyful time but for some leading up to it can cause stress as you prepare gifts, meals and maybe events. When we get stressed we tend to focus on the stressor primarily and on nothing else. This can lead to increased stress and anxiety. It can be hard to get to the gym, fit in a workout or prepare your veggies for the next few weeks and that is totally ok. The key is to figure out what may be causing you the stress and come up with a strategy to manage it. 

Stress can cause hormones to go out of whack in our bodies which can lead to weight gain, it can lead to sickness and even disease long term. The last thing we want to do is add additional stress to our bodies in a time where we may overindulge already. This can snowball quickly and leave you feeling defeated after a week or two. 

Here are a few tools to help manage any stress you may meet during the holidays or at any time. 

1)   Take 5 minutes to yourself. Daily, whenever you feel you start to take on the most stress take 5 minutes to yourself. Sit or lay down, close your eyes and take a few slow deep breaths. This will lower your heart rate and your blood pressure. Keep breathing until any thoughts you are having leave your mind. Sit with a clear mind for a minute, then think of one good thing you have going for you at the moment and give gratitude.

2)   Move your body. If you are already overly stressed then go for an easy walk or do a few stretches. A high intensity workout is not always best when stress is already high in the body. It can add to the stress. If you feel your stress is well managed then yes go for that harder workout and get a good sweat on to clear your mind. 

3)   Prioritize and execute. If you have a to do list of twenty items, put the most important items at the top of the list. Highlight the first three and get these done first thing in the day. Then delegate a few of the other tasks if you can. 

4)   Use a smoothie or two a day if needed to easily get in some good quality nutrition. You may not have as much time to prep healthy foods and snacks so do what’s easy and healthy. Smoothies, or prep two snacks for the week (apple and almonds, cheese and veggies) and then have enough for five days. Low prep time and easy to stick to for the week. 

The key is not knowing what to do, but actually doing it. If you are feeling a bit overstressed, then try one of these tactics today!