By Mary Ircink, parish nurse
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Many of us look forward to celebrating the holidays. However, the holidays can also bring added stress to our already stressed lives as we carry out traditions, make a large meal, attend events, make travel arrangements, or find that “perfect” gift.
There are some ways that might be helpful in relieving the stress that comes during this time of year. Try to keep your basic life patterns as normal as possible during what can be a hectic time. Here are some suggestions for taking care of you:
- Laugh! You’ve probably heard the phrase “Laughter is the Best Medicine”. Well, a good belly laugh does lower the body’s stress hormone (cortisol), and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood.
- Play soothing music or nature sounds. Research shows listening to birdsongs or water sounds, like the ocean or a babbling brook can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety.
- Take a 5 minute break and focus on your breathing. Relax your muscles. Pray.
- Try gratitude journaling by remembering and writing things that are good in your life. Capture the good experiences and celebrate the accomplishments. Take time to appreciate what you have—rather than focusing on what you don’t have or can’t accomplish.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Take time to schedule daily physical activity even when you are away from home. Walk outside and breathe deeply.
- Pick fruits and vegetables to snack on. Drink water to help keep hydrated.
- Don’t forget to wash your hands especially before preparing food or eating! It is one of the most important ways to keep holiday germs at bay.
Give yourself a gift this holiday season by taking time for you!