How to cope with stress over the holidays –the most stressful time of the year.

MORE WOMEN THAN MEN ARE STRESSED DURING THE HOLIDAYS

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that more women are stressed over the holidays than men.

On top of the ‘usual’ workload of looking after the family and working, women generally shoulder more of the responsibility for organizing the holidays, gift shopping, planning meals, decorating, cooking, to year-end holiday parties and activities.   A recent survey by the American Psychological Association bears this out.   44% of women said that they were more stressed over the holidays than men at 31%.

So, what is supposed to be a joyous time with family and friends can wind up being exhausting and stressful.  Stress can also affect your health.

Here is what I recommend to help you get into the holiday spirit without triggering stress and anxiety.

  1. Create a to do list and then simplify it. If long line ups in the stores wears out your patience and creates anxiety–do more of your shopping on line.
  2. Share tasks. I recently was at a holiday gathering for nineteen, where one of the adult sons made the stuffing and cranberry sauce, while the other son bought the pies and ice cream. And everyone helped set the table and pitched in doing the dishes.  We tend to take on too much and often don’t ask for help. This year, make that one of your holiday resolutions.
  3. Be realistic.  It doesn’t have to be the perfect holiday.  Focus instead on the things that are important.  Cut back on things that are nice but not necessary.
  4. Learn to say ‘no’.  It’s ok to say no to certain events.  If it cuts into your time for the things that are a priority, says no and save your energy and time for the things that count and make your feel good. Women often have difficulty saying no, as we often simply want to please. Saying no can happen in 3 easy steps: open your mouth.  Politely decline, say no thanks, no, it just doesn’t work for me. Close your mouth. Don’t say you’ll try, or maybe as that does not reduce your stress.  Merely say no to whatever, which truthfully means you are saying yes, to something else, something more important for you right now.
  5. Relatives– If you have a hard time being around relatives, set time limits for those visits.
  6. Be mindful.  There is no doubt that practicing mindfulness is a big assist during stressful times.  Mindfulness means that you stay in the moment without judging yourself rather than your mind bouncing around in a thousand directions.  Mindfulness is also considered good for heart health.
  7. Take Time for Yourself. This is one of the most important things you can do both during the holidays and throughout the year. .  We tend to do more for everyone else, than we do for ourselves. That can stress our bodies as well as our minds.  Take time to go for a workout, a long walk, quiet time, even a nap far from the madding crowds.

 

If any of these tips work for you this holiday season, why not make them part of your New Year’s resolutions. Happy Holidays !!!

 

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

 

 

 

 

So You’ve Bought a Fitness Tracker— Now What?

shutterstock_593935241You’ve finally decided to get into shape, need more motivation or just want another ‘toy’ to add to your growing list of fitness gizmos. So you begin to check out fitness devices. I started on-line and then decided to go to one of the big box stores to take a closer look. There are now so many of them on the market it can be daunting.
I was amazed at the variety of fitness trackers or ‘wearable technology ‘ as they’ re called on display. There are even trackers for pets and ones that will critique your tennis swing! I was totally lost. But quick relief, my daughter went online and bought me one!!! Whew, decision made.

So the first step is to decide what you want to track?
Steps, calories, heart rate, fitness activities besides walking or running or a combination of some or all, you can even measure the amount of sleep and awake time. Do you want one to wear on your wrist or discreetly on your person—in your pocket or attached to your bra?
Once you’ve made the choice the next step is to wear it for the first week—if you don’t regularly exercise then just wear it for a week to decide what you normally do –that would be your baseline.
Now that you know your starting point, it’s time to get moving.
Set a reasonable goal. Your fitness device might have a default goal — often 10,000 steps a day. From your baseline add 200-300 steps a day to increase your weekly total by 2,000. That’s an increase of about a mile a day. Keep building up until you get to 10,000.
When you look at calories burned, a reasonable goal is to increase by 250 calories a day. You can get that from 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise. Or you could burn that amount doing some extra moving during the day. Grocery shopping for instance burns about 100 calories an hour for a 175-pound person.
Remember, to lose 1 pound a week, you need to create a 500-calorie deficit each day. The best way to do this is by eating a little less and moving a little more.
Pay attention to how you feel. On a day when you walk 1,000 more steps than usual, you may notice you feel great and want to do it again the next day.
Transform wasted time into steps. Once you’re aware of your steps, the most boring parts of your day become opportunities. On hold with customer service? Pace your house. Waiting to pick up your kids from school, arrive a bit early and go for a walk. Take the stairs when you can instead of the elevator.
Healthy aging can begin with baby steps! And as always, it is one step at a time!

#run #fitness #active #healthy

Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

Top Ways to Manage Stress & Lead a Healthier Most Positive Life

A few more tips..Part 2

We all have stresses in our lives…but if those stresses are positive and stimulating, we are productive, interesting and ultimately satisfied.   It is also important to recognize that stress that can be overwhelming but if you adopt the appropriate strategies you will be able to cope and conquer stress.

Here are a few more tips to manage stress.

Change your behaviour

Get organized—poor organization is one of the most common causes of stress. Prioritize your objectives and your duties and activities to make them more manageable and achievable.  Good organization will help to avoid personal and professional chaos and protect against “out of the blue” problems.

Vent–A problem shared is a problem halved. Develop a support network through friends or colleagues to talk with. It’s not always events that are stressful but how we perceive them. Often friends add new perspectives that could lessen your stress.

Use humor—cliche as it might seem, laughter is the best medicine. It is a good stress reducer at home and at work and it relieves muscular tension, improves breathing, pumps those good endorphins into the bloodstream.

Take time out—Get away from things that bother you and give yourself time to reduce your stress level and calm down to think logically.

Be assertive

Assertiveness helps to manage stressful situations, and will, in time, help to reduce their frequency.  Lack of assertiveness often shows low self – esteem and low self – confidence.

Time Management  

Make a list.  What MUST be done vs. What SHOULD be done vs. What would you LIKE to do? Cut out time-wasting and unimportant activities. Learn to drop unimportant activities

And JUST SAY NO.  Plan your day. Set achievable goals. Don’t waste time making excuses for not doing something

Change your lifestyle

Diet.  Nutritional stress is actually a major type of physical stress in today’s 2.0 world.  Are you eating chemically and toxin loaded food and expecting your body to cope? Are you smoking and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol?

Exercise.  Exercise.  Exercise.

Exercise uses up excess energy released by the “Fight or Flight” reaction. It helps improve blood circulation and pumps those feel good endorphins into your bloodstream. We are less stressed, less fragile, when we feel strong and healthy.

Sleep

Sleep is essential for adequate brain function. Often when people are stressed they lose sleep. One great way to purge your body of stress so your mind can relax is to learn progressive muscle relaxation and deep muscle relaxation techniques. Meditation is also a valuable tool to relax your body and quiet your mind — it can easily transition you into sleep.

Start the New Year Off Right-Lead a More Postive Life by Managing Stress

Top ways to manage stress and lead a healthier and more positive life
Part I

You don’t have to look farther than the nightly news to see the effect stress can have on an individual than to look at US President Barack Obama.  His hair is graying, he looks thinner than usual and more tired than he did almost five years ago when he took office. It seems however, that whatever physical signs we may see, President Obama has a number of coping strategies to manage his stress such as working out, eating a proper diet, and strong close connections to his family and friends.

However, if your stress goes unmanaged and is excessive it can affect your immune system and lead to cardiovascular problems, contribute to premature aging as well as mental health and illness issues.

What is stress?  

Stress is the “wear and tear” our minds and bodies experience as we attempt to cope with our continually changing environment.  Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. Stress occurs when the pressure is greater than the resource.

When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger.  But this can also be a bad thing, if their stress is in response to something internal or emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. People often are stressed about things they cannot control. It can make individuals feel panicked, depressed, anxious, frightened, tense, fatigued and unmotivated. Whether stress is internally driven or externally focused most stress is self-generated.

 

Top Ways to Manage stress:

1.  The most important step is to do a reality ‘Awareness’ check.

What causes you to stress? Has there been a change in your work environment, are you over worked?  ? Is there uncertainty or are you facing conflicts.

What’s going on at home and in your personal life? Are you facing a major life event—marriage, divorce, a new baby, financial issues?

2.  Find Balance.

There is a fine line between positive / negative stress Determine how much can you cope with before it becomes negative? Are you stimulated or overwhelmed?

3.  Control: If you have reached the breaking point then it is time to take control of the situation.  What can you do to help yourself combat the negative effects of your stress?

4. Re-frame: Use reframing, which is a technique to change the way you look at things to feel better about them. There are many ways to interpret the same situation. Re-framing does not change the external reality, but helps you view things in a different light

5. Positive thinking

Forget powerlessness, dejection, despair, and failure.  Stress leaves us vulnerable to negative suggestion so focus on positives.  Focus on your strengths. Look for opportunities to focus on positive events in your life.