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Hacks for De-Stressing over the Holidays

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

The holiday season begins in earnest this week. We hope you can experience moments of deep appreciation and meaningful connection.

Many in our community have shared that with a world in tumult they are feeling an uptick in their levels of stress, anxiety or overwhelm.

The holidays can add stress to our nervous systems in several ways not limited to the following:

· A busier social calendar with less downtime

· The hustle and bustle of travel planning/logistics/being out of routine

· Shopping frenzy and financial stress

· Changes in diet, meal timing, and alcohol consumption

· Triggers that may arise from family gatherings

· Pressures from expectations and traditions, perfectionism, presenting good cheer when you don’t feel good inside.

· Heightened emotional challenges including loneliness, grief, separation, conflict, anger

While there may not be a way of completely avoiding the extra tension during the holidays, you can lessen the negative impact of stressful situations.

We thought it might be a good time to provide some quick tips for weathering the holiday season as well as empowering you with strategies to support a flexible nervous system that returns more quickly to a healthy baseline after upset.

Here are some strategies to help you manage stress and regulate your nervous system:

  1. Mindful Breathing: Practice the physiological sigh – a specific type of breathing pattern shown in the latest scientific research to be effective to calm your nervous system. Breathe in through your nose ¾ of the way to full. Hold your breath and pause a moment. Then, quickly sniff up through your nose again once or twice. Pause at the top. Exhale fully through your mouth.

  2. Set Realistic Expectations: Don’t strive for perfection. Set realistic goals and boundaries for yourself. It's okay to say no to some invitations or delegate tasks to reduce your load.

  3. Prioritize Self-Care: Make time for yourself amidst the holiday rush. Whether it's a hot bath, a walk in nature, reading, doing something creative, stretching, dancing to music… ensure you have moments dedicated solely to your own chosen “feel-good” activities. Remember to take a time-out if you feel yourself ramping up too much.

  4. Healthy Boundaries: Set boundaries with family and friends to protect your mental and emotional well-being. Communicate openly about your needs and limitations. Easier said than done, we know. Reach out and get some support from our team if you need support with this.

  5. Manage Finances: Financial stress can compound during the holidays. Set a budget for gifts and festivities to avoid overspending and subsequent stress.

  6. Healthy Eating and Exercise: Maintain a balanced diet, and incorporate physical activity into your routine. Exercise helps release endorphins, which can alleviate stress. Again, it is often so beneficial to call on our team for Personal Coaching and accountability if you are trying to stay on track with your nutrition and movement plan.

  7. Time Management: Plan and organize your time efficiently. Create a schedule to avoid last-minute rushes and give yourself ample time to complete tasks.

  8. Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to ask for help or talk to someone if you're feeling overwhelmed. Sharing how you are feeling can alleviate stress quickly. Call any of our team members at Backpocket Confidante to get relief and grounding.

  9. Practice Gratitude: Focus on what you're grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal or taking a moment each day to appreciate the positives can shift your perspective.

  10. Limit Screen Time: Reduce exposure to screens, especially social media, if it contributes to your stress. Constant comparison and information overload can heighten anxiety.

  11. Create Meaningful Traditions: Instead of focusing on material aspects, emphasize meaningful traditions or experiences that bring joy without adding undue stress.

  12. Be Kind to Yourself: Remember, it's okay if everything doesn’t go as planned. Give yourself grace and acknowledge that it's alright to feel stressed during this time.

  13. Laughter: Connect with some friends who can put things in perspective and share some good hearty laughter. It is such good medicine.

  14. Humming: If you are sick of holiday music, just hum a random tune. Humming boosts immunity and increases nitric oxide which is a gas that sterilizes airborne pathogens and increases arterial oxygenation, reducing blood pressure! Humming also creates a vibration that stimulates your vagus nerve, activating the parasympathetic nervous system which is known as the “rest & digest” state. You move out of fight or flight stress mode into relaxation.

  15. Call our team if you want a quick Meridian Tapping session: Tapping works wonders to quickly reduce stress and increase inner peace.

Implementing even a few of these strategies can help regulate your nervous system and reduce holiday stress. The key is to find what works best for you and prioritize your well-being.

We wish all of you a time of healthy inner and interpersonal connection. May these resources serve you when you need them. Remember, You Matter. We’re Here.

If you'd like to learn how to establish the foundations for a happier, more empowered life, join us for a live, online, 6-week journey during which we will show you how to establish embodied safety, deeper self-connection, and greater clarity. The adventure begins by creating true safety within to expand your capacity for the deeper work that follows. Within a beautiful and supportive class community, you will cultivate inner nourishment as you learn how to regulate, rejuvenate, and shed the shackles of conditioning that limit your freedom and keep you small. Learn more and register here:

Love and good cheer,

The Whole Team at Backpocket Confidante

#Hacks for De-Stressing

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