Stress levels starting to rise? It’s a common feeling at the holidays when we are pulled in so many different directions. Here are four great ways to better manage stress during a busy time of the year.
Breathe deeply. Studies show that meditation has numerous benefits, especially for older adults. Feeling yourself becoming overwhelmed? Closing your eyes, listening to some soothing music and taking deep, cleansing breaths can really help. A review of more than one dozen studies involving older adults suggests that meditation was linked to positive effects on attention, memory, executive function, processing speed and general cognition. Other studies have shown physical benefits as well, such as reduced inflammation and better digestion. Not sure where to start? It’s easy to try out meditation for yourself and help a loved one try it, too! There’s a variety of top-rated free and low-cost apps that can help. One is the Calm app. Calm offers guided meditation with soothing music in 3- to 25-minute sessions. Want to develop a daily meditation practice? Try Daily Calm, the app’s 10-minute program that helps you meditate in the mornings or evenings.
Stick to your calendar. Organization is the enemy of chaos. Write down your schedule and commit only to how much you’re willing to do, even if it means only one big event per day. If two major family gatherings happen to fall in the same time period, know it’s OK to pick just one—or invite people to come to you. Learning to say no is important, especially over the holidays.
Make time for enjoyable activities. Make sure you’re taking time during this busy season to do things you truly enjoy. Activities such as reading a book or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate can provide an escape from the daily hustle and bustle. Take regular breaks to simply look after your own well-being.
Share some memories. The holidays can be tough on those who have lost a spouse, a friend or relative. It’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. Experts say sharing memories can help anyone who has lost a loved one feel better, so take the time to talk to — and listen to — your loved ones.