1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email
Paige Waehner

Challenge of the Week: Reduce Your Stress

By November 27, 2012

Follow me on:

It's the holiday season and you know what that means: Let the meltdowns begin! I've already seen a few minor meltdowns. One occurred at a drugstore where they had this Santa Claus doll that shrieked 'Ho, Ho, Ho!' every time someone walked by in this creepy motion-sensor kind of way. One man was so incensed by the lunatic Santa, that he kidnapped the doll and took it back to the pharmacy where he requested a sedative for the laughing Santa. And then for himself.

Several store customers applauded.

There's a lot of pressure to be happy and excited during the holidays. In fact, there's a lot of pressure to be happy period and it's easy to sabotage yourself, adding more pressure and stress during a time that has enough of it already.

We often think we have to do Big Things to get rid of stress - Quit the job, meditate for hours, run away to join the circus, go on a month-long vacation...things that, while not necessarily bad ideas, aren't things you can do right now. Reducing stress doesn't have to take much time at all. If you're feeling crazy right now, your challenge is to find a way to do at least one of the following ideas today:

  1. Stop. For at least 5 minutes today, stop and do nothing. Sit in your car, the bathroom, an empty conference room, the basement, wherever you can find and just sit. Do nothing.
  2. Breathe. Close your eyes and take three long, deep breaths. That alone can help you relax your shoulders, your jaw, all the things you're holding tight and remind you of the most basic thing your body needs: Oxygen.
  3. Take a Walk. The crazies can easily take over, making you rush even more to get everything done. A walk, even if it's just a few minutes around the house, the office or the block can be like a moving meditation, a time to let your body move naturally and let your mind roam free.
  4. Exercise. Exercise boosts your mood and, if you're feeling the crazies right now, that alone can help you calm down, get rid of extra tension and clear your mind. More about workouts for stress relief
  5. Give Yourself a Break. Whether it's dealing with the holidays or trying to stick to an exercise program, giving yourself the freedom to fail can be liberating. One idea is to write down all the ways you might fail in whatever you're trying to accomplish. Not getting out your holiday cards in time, not fitting in that hour at the gym you had planned, not handling everything with perfect calmness and joy. Now, take that list and change your notion of failure. If you can't do those things on the list, what could you do? What could you take off the list completely?

Learn more at 10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Stress and please leave a comment about how you're feeling right now and how you're handling things. Are you stressed out? What can you do about it? Do you use exercise to reduce stress?

December 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm
(1) John|Martial Arts says:

This is suitable for those who are stressed from work or school like me. I really need to do these tips. I want to add some, You can also read and listen to music. This is very effective for me.

December 13, 2011 at 12:16 am
(2) MIchael22541 says:

Classical Music has been my latest way to decompress, But excersice is the best way, so before going to bed I listen to Classical.

December 13, 2011 at 10:04 am
(3) Rochelle says:

Whew! I’m so stressed and flustered right now all
I wanna do is scream! If everyone around me
would just do everything they are supposed to do
everything would be just peachy! Yes, guys I’m
ranting! I have to rant cause I don’t wanna have the. Crazies!
I just hate unreliable people, never ask them to
anything and if they run a business take your business
elsewhere! Now, I’m gonna follow these five steps,
I think they will definitely do a world of good for me!

December 17, 2011 at 9:40 am
(4) Teresa says:

Paige, this was very helpful. For the first time in years, I haven’t had time to work out at the gym! Every year for the last 5 years during the holidays, I always made it to the gym but I had to start working this year; so this wk I only made it once. With all the added school, church and social activities, along with shopping and getting ready to sell our house and relocate, it has cut into any other time I might use to work out. So, the stress level has been through the roof and I haven’t been able to get the stress relief through exercise. I’m trying the things you have suggested though and the deep breaths are already helping! And being able to forgive myself for missing my workouts is a blessing! LOL I know I will get back to it asap – I can’t wait and I’m constantly trying to think where I can fit it in! Everything will work out. Have a great holiday everyone!

November 27, 2012 at 7:55 am
(5) Mark says:

Massage and music is the best. also go to your “happy place”.

November 28, 2012 at 6:09 am
(6) Weight loss says:

Breathing Exercise is very effective my personal experience. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
Top Related Searches
  • stress
    1. About.com
    2. Health
    3. Exercise

    ©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

    We comply with the HONcode standard
    for trustworthy health
    information: verify here.