The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebrating together with family and friends and reveling in the joy of it all. But, according to an American Psychological Association-commissioned study, more than 75% of Americans report feeling stress during the holiday season. Some of the top stressors include crowds and long lines, gaining weight and gift shopping, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
Since we’re all extra busy around the holidays, we asked Wellforce staff members for tips on how to decompress while we’re standing in line for the next Apple iPhone 7 or sitting in holiday traffic as we travel to grandma’s house.
Arm yourself with healthy snacks
Studies have shown that dieters are more likely than non-dieters to overeat when under pressure. Keep a few snacks on hand such as an apple, whole grain crackers with a cheese stick, or lightly salted almonds so when you’re hit with a craving or are feeling stressed and want to eat, you’re not tempted to binge.
Turn on some tunes or an audio book
A recent study in the Journal of Emerging Investigators showed that slow or meditative music reduces stress, so set your radio or Spotify to a soothing station during your commute. Another great way to stay calm while in traffic is listening to audiobooks or a meditation CD. Deepak Chopra’s guided mediations are a staff favorite.
Focus your senses
For a few minutes a day, practice being mindful, focusing only on what’s going on in the present. Instead of thinking about what’s worrying you or stressing you out, pay attention to your senses – what you see, feel, hear and smell. If you have trouble setting time aside to do this, one of the Tufts MC Social Work team members suggests setting a timer on your phone to remind you to get up and move or take a break and relax.
Studies show that grateful people report feeling healthier and are more likely to take care of themselves than others. Next time you are stopped in traffic or waiting in line, think of one thing you appreciate about someone in your life – and tell them the next time you see them!
The Tufts Medical Center Primary Care Physicians notice that a lot of patients get run down to the point of sickness over the holidays. It’s important to stick to a good sleep schedule, so try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Get more sleep tips >
Contributed by the Weight and Wellness Center and Primary Care at Tufts Medical Center
Learn more about the Weight and Wellness Center or Tufts MC Primary Care in Boston.
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