Staying stress-free throughout the holidays

The one thing I reckon we all have in common this time of year is stress. What do I fix for dinner that everyone will love? What should I give my parents? My friends? How am I going to afford this? Am I going to be able to stay healthy?

The anxiety builds and builds until you feel like you’re going to pop. Don’t let that happen this year. I asked our Reboot experts to share their best tips for staying stress-free (or at least a little less stressed) throughout the holiday season:

Adrian Rawlinson
Dr. Adrian Rawlinson, a Sports Medicine Doctor says:

  • Get high on exercise.Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Exercise has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. Endurance athletes commonly report this aspect of regular exercise, as a “Runner’s High”. It eventually becomes addicting too, and that’s a good thing.
  • Sweat every day. If you are able to, you should exercise nearly every day. This doesn’t mean ‘pumping iron’ every day! A simple walking or jogging program is great. Just keep it going and incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Regular aerobic exercise is good for lowering your cholesterol, improving your heart function, and lowering blood pressure, but it also helps elevate your mood. Keep up with your exercise routine or start a new one.
  • Make time for movement. This busy time of the year can make it challenging to squeeze it in but keep taking some time for you – that’s a high priority. This has been verified in clinical trials that have looked at exercise to treat anxiety and depression. Why does this effect happen? The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercising naturally increases endorphins (the happy hormones) that decrease your stress, plus the stronger you feel the more able you are to cope with stressful situations.
  • Stay on track to maintain or reach your ideal weight. As you lose weight through diet and exercise your strength and endurance increase and your self-image improves. You’ll earn a sense of pride and self-confidence and your renewed vigor will help you succeed in many tasks, both at work and at home. Many regular exercisers say they have better self-discipline and have an easier time achieving other lifestyle goals. Exercise and sports also give you the chance to experience some ‘down time’ or to befriend other likeminded folks who love to exercise regularly.