The Busy Girl’s Guide To Holiday Stress

unnamed-4Illustrated By Emily Kowzen.
The holidays can be a wonderful time to reflect on love, family, and generosity amidst homey scents of mulled wine and seasonal candles. But, we're also usually under a crunch, running from work to potlucks to the airport, while furiously emailing on our phones, fighting bidding wars on eBay (that vintage bag is perfect for your mom!), and grabbing whatever snack food is lying around at any given moment. Add all that holiday cheer on top and, well, you're bound to get stressed.
So, it's important to implement little fixes here and there to keep us grounded and under control during super-stressful days. Ahead, some quick and easy-to-adopt tips on how to make the best out of your holiday — without totally losing it.
unnamed-6Illustrated By Emily Kowzen.

Pick and choose where you indulge rather than diving into every dessert tray and punch bowl you see.
Even if you're usually mindful of what you eat, the holidays have a way of negating your good habits. December feels like a free for all — with endless snacks, weird dips, cookies, and cocktails. (Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing.) However, going nuts all day, every day isn't a great idea either. It's about trade-offs. Going to a fondue extravaganza tonight? Awesome, take me. But, maybe go easy on the office cocktail hour beforehand.

However, says Equinox Greenwich Fitness instructor Giovanni Roselli, "One of the worst mistakes you can make is saying, 'Okay, I know I am going to eat a lot tonight, so I'm not going to eat for most of the day,' It should be the opposite! Keep feeding your body throughout the day so you won't feel hungry and overindulge." Food isn't pennies to be scrimped and saved so that you can "buy" yourself a dessert later. Just eat a sensible lunch and then enjoy the cheeses. It's one less thing to stress about.
unnamed-5Illustrated By Emily Kowzen.

Give yourself a brief moment of self-care every day.

Is that a new email? Where's my phone? There's always something or someone beckoning to us via our myriad digital devices. And, since December is crunch time — there's A LOT to do before the holiday break — our obsession with our devices is stronger than ever.

I'll admit that I've got bad habits here. I check my email first thing every morning; I have barely even rejoined the land of the living when my hand is reflexively scrolling through what I "missed" while I was asleep. This is very bad, principally because what happens when I've received a stress-inducing email? I literally start my day stressed, before my toes have even touched the ground.
Courtney Somer, founder of wellness-siteEyla, unsurprisingly, recommends not doing what I do. "Take three minutes when you first wake up (before you look at your phone) and do something that gets you into your body and out of your mind such as yoga stretches, deep breathing, or a simple meditation," Somer recommends. "End by setting an intention for the day, then go about your business." This is great advice for any day, but during the holidays — when "going about your business" can entail 16 straight hours of activities — it's so important to incorporate this.

Get some action.

Another great way to take a quick stress-relieving break is to hit the bed. Yes, sleep is important, but we mean the more fun kind of hitting the sheets — research proves that if you're in a satisfying relationship, then sex will help relieve stress. Kind of a no-brainer, but it's actually kind of easy to overlook sexual needs during stressful periods. Also, it doesn't take a partner to obtain the stress-relieving effects of orgasm. Solo or coupled up, focusing on your sexual needs during periods of stress is a must. And, it's free — at least you're not further maxing out your credit cards in search of a good time.

unnamed-7Illustrated By Emily Kowzen.

Work it out.
It's hard enough to roll out of bed in the morning and soldier on to the gym. Add to that fact your massive hangover and the 23-degrees weather outside, and things look even bleaker. But, it's important to make time for exercise, even if it's just a little bit, as this is really going to help relieve stress in a big way. Roselli advises we take time wherever we are to get in at least a little legwork. "After you write a Christmas card, you do 20 squats and 10 push-ups. If you have as many Christmas cards to write as I do, before you know it, you will have performed quite a bit of exercise!" Um, yeah, good luck with that one.

Watch out for #1.

And, most importantly, we need to remember that, whatever our role, we've got to take a step back and focus on our mental well-being before focusing on the needs of other.
"In general, women wear many hats and live extremely busy live," Roselli continues, "Particularly during the holiday season, women need to remember themselves as they prepare to make the other people in their lives happy."

Most of all, have a fun time. The holidays will be over before you know it. So even if we overindulge here or there, and not every gift is perfectly wrapped, it'll all work out. Sommer says it best: "You could spend your whole time at a party worried about this or that, or constantly stressed about all your to-dos, but in a few weeks, it will be over. What will you have missed?"

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