5 Tips to Lower Your Stress Levels

Image courtesy of Alexander Kachkaev's photostream

Image courtesy of Alexander Kachkaev’s photostream

The holidays are upon us and while we’re spending time with our families and spreading holiday cheer, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everything – which could lead to a lot of stress, and potentially waste time.

So before you start that food fight with your family this year, check out my five handy tips that I use year-round to save time and lower my stress levels:

1.    Control your breathing. This one’s a stress-reducer (although it saves time that you would have spent freaking out). When things get too hectic I find it’s best to take a few minutes and take a breather. Find a quiet place to sit for 3-5 minutes and only focus on breathing in your nose and out of your mouth.

2.    Make a List. Lists can save your life. Seriously, having a list of what needs to get done or where you need to be can save you a lot of time and stress. Download an app on your smartphone if you don’t want to use the traditional pen and paper – I recommend  Evernote.

3.    Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Did some frantic shopper take the last cabbage patch doll? Did you get cut off in traffic? Try to let those things slide – you’ll thank yourself in the long run (alternately find that quiet spot and focus on tip #1).

4.    Stay off Your Phone. This may seem holiday specific but really try to be in the moment with people when you are with them. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a group of people at a dinner table all staring at their phones. Bonus points if you follow my lead and take your favorite social media app off of your phone. You may be surprised at how much time you’ll save not looking at social media.

5.    Find Your Joy.  Again, you should do this year-round. Unless you have the most amazing luck in the universe, life is a constant series of ups and downs. Some would argue that bad times help you enjoy the good times – but no matter what, find those things you enjoy and make time for them. You may be running around for the holidays, but sneaking in a little time for yourself will do you wonders in the long run.

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