There’s Still Time to Get on Board the De-Stress Train! Here’s How!
If your to-do list is growing at the same rate your holiday budget is shrinking, your kids have a bad case of the “gimmes” and you’re wishing you could be just sick enough to stay in bed endlessly re-watching A Christmas Prince, there’s still time to slow this holiday madness down.
Just follow these five tips!
Tip 1. Stop whatever you’re doing, close your eyes and take a couple slow, deep breaths (unless you’re driving or performing a medical procedure!). Your craziest, busiest moment pretty much demands a hit to the “pause” button. According to the experts at Harvard Medical School, everyday stress can cause high blood pressure, suppress your immune system and contribute to anxiety and depression. Add the holidays to that and look out! Some nice deep breaths can be the first step toward dealing with everything life is sending your way.1
Tip 2. Get moving (and get outside if you can). We all know sitting is the new smoking and that your physical and mental health will both benefit from some time on the move, preferably accompanied by a little fresh air. If your schedule’s tight and you don’t have time to get outside, at least get up. Sure, you might look a little silly doing knee bends and lunges at work, but you’ll look a whole lot sillier if stress leads to a meltdown. (And if you’re at home, kids love it when adults do something goofy — go ahead, try it!). And this tip isn’t just for adults — cooped up kids benefit too.
Tip 3. Put away your laptop, tablet and phone and spend some quality time with loved ones. We all know too much screen time shortens our attention span, causes us to be distracted and can even make our body hurt (Really! How does your neck feel after hunching over your phone?). So, put away the technology and connect with someone you care about. Bake some cookies, play a game or walk around your neighborhood and look at the lights.
Tip 4. Ponder all the things you have to be grateful for. The experts at Psychology Today report that gratitude actually reprograms our brain to see the positive in our lives and can even re-energize us2 — and who doesn’t need a little more energy this time of year? Sit down with your loved ones. Have each person write down at least 10 things they’re grateful for, right this minute. Even if you’re having a crummy day, it doesn’t take much to come up with 10 — try it and you’ll see. They don’t have to be mind-blowingly great things. Even something like one last clean towel when you really wanted a shower can count!
Tip 5. Do something for someone else. ‘Tis the season to be nice! You’ll make someone else’s day and could even make your own (really!). When you’re focused on someone else’s needs there isn’t enough mental space to worry so much about yours. And there’s lots of research to show that helping other people can improve your physical and mental health and makes your pleasure centers happy too. Here’s a fun fact: Compassion gives your brain the same pleasure hit as a sugary dessert, with none of the calories!3
Feeling better already? Hooray! And Happy Holidays to you and yours from your friends at Summit Credit Union.
Smart money tips brought to you by Red SHOES, Summit’s exclusive financial wellness program.
1 https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response 2 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/focus-forgiveness/201811/reenergize-your-life-gratitude 3 https://www.inc.com/matthew-jones/why-compassion-not-money-or-success-is-key-to-true-happiness.html