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Managing Stress During the Holidays

 holiday stress 460

The holidays are a fantastic time of year. They are a time of family, fun, and thankfulness.  The holidays can also be an extremely stressful time of year. 

Stress plays a significant role in our ability to learn, store information in our brain, and recall it when we need it. Over extended periods of time, stress wreaks havoc on our system, memory and brain health. Extended shut downs of perceived unnecessary functions compromise those systems and we begin to pick up sickness, rashes, and other ailments. In addition stress related hormones maintained at higher levels take their toll on areas of the brain that play an important role in memory. As a result, we have more difficulty thinking, learning, and accessing long term memories. 
During this holiday season take a proactive approach towards managing your stress. Here are a few tips from stress management expert, Bud James, PhD, to help you effectively manage stress during the holiday season.
 
Own what you do control. Release the past and everything that you can’t control. We don’t stress over the past – we stress about what might happen. Make a short list of what you want to accomplish today. Congratulate yourself for what you got done and do more the next day.
 
Exercise regularly. A few minutes of exercise a day can reduce your stress and benefit your overall health. A healthy mind and body always handles challenges more effectively. As a wise flight attendant will tell you, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping the person acting like a child sitting next to you.” Take care of yourself first this holiday season.
 
Eat mindfully.  We are often distracted while we eat. Consequently, we don’t truly enjoy the full holiday experience. Don’t do anything else but listen to soft music while eating.  Focus on each bite.  Close your eyes as you chew and enjoy the flavors.  Feel the food nourish your body. When you reach for that treat, don’t say “this is bad for me” as you put it in your mouth. Enjoy it fully!!!!
 
Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not put your entire focus on just one day (i.e., Christmas). Remember it is a season of holiday sentiment. Activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment. 
 
Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way. While you want to remember and appreciate the past, focus on enjoying yourself right now. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Going to a movie, looking at holiday displays, and singing Christmas carols could be fun activities to reduce stress.
 
Do something for someone else. Volunteer some time to help others. Doing things for others provides us with self-fulfillment and a productive discharge of stress.  It also gets us focused on the here and now versus worrying about the future.
 
Save time for yourself. Make sure you get plenty of rest! This is the time of year for a good winter’s nap. Recharge your batteries! Remember, you don’t have to be Superman or Supergirl during the holidays. Let others share responsibility in the process and activities.
 
Apply one or more of these stress reducing actions.  You'll feel better and it will make for a more memorable and enjoyable holiday season. For more information on improving your memory or reducing stress, contact us at (530) 297-6464 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. in addition, for more stress reduction resources go to Mental Health America's site at www.nmha.org. 
 
From all of us at Memory Spring: Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and memorable holiday season!!!
 
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