The holidays are a joyous, but stressful, time of year. With personal obligations and increased holiday traffic and deadlines, your stress level may be at an all time high.
Some simple habits can help alleviate stress this holiday and beyond.
1. Make healthy diet choices
Holiday food is often delicious, but not always the most nutritious. Eating more fat, sugar and carbs than normal can cause your blood sugar to crash and may impact your mood.
Try to balance heavy holiday foods with more nutritious options and work on portion control when you want to indulge.
Eating foods that are high in omega 3s and antioxidants, such as fish, berries, dark chocolate and whole grains, can help balance your diet and fuel your brain.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise is one of the most proven and recommended ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Exercise can also help ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Find a physical activity that you enjoy doing on a regular basis, such as walking, running, yoga, kickboxing, etc. Ideally you should aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise daily. However, according to the ADAA, just 5 minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-stress mechanisms in the body. So even just a quick walk around the block can help reduce stress levels.
3. Try meditation
Meditation can help calm your mind and create balance in your mind and body. And the benefits of meditation can extend beyond the time you spend meditating. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, control anxiety, enhance self-awareness, improve attention spans and aid in getting better sleep.
Even just taking 3-5 minutes to deep breath on a 4 count counts as meditation and can greatly reduce your stress. During the holidays, it's a good idea to set aside some time for yourself so can recenter.
Read more about meditation techniques here.
4. Get a good night's sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is a constant tip for a healthy lifestyle for a reason. It’s impossible to replace the benefits of 6-8 hours of sleep. Sleep can help the body, boost your immune system, increase your focus and attention and reduce holiday stress. As a driver, sleep deprivation helps prevent distraction and accidents.
5. Stock stress reduction tools
Having stress reduction tools available in your truck can help you cope when put into a stressful situation, during the holidays and beyond. These could include a stress ball, an aromatherapy pen, therapy dough, fidget toys or back massagers.
Keeping these close at hand can help reduce stress, especially since driving requires so much hand and arm movements.
Learning to keep your stress in check is always a good idea, but during the holiday season it's especially important.
A note about this upcoming holiday season.
This year may be more stressful than most due to a variety of factors including more cargo, more risk and general external stressors. This upcoming holiday season will look a lot different for most people and it's important to recognize that.
Identifying your feelings around the 2020 holiday season and understand that they may be mixed. Mourn what is lost (a family member, friend, job, missed vacations, changed plans, etc) ,but also focus on what you still can do to make the season as festive and normal as possible. Practicing gratitude for what you do have, even if it's small, can help you focus on the positive and adapt to changes easier.
No matter what, keeping you and your family safe and healthy is always priority number one.