Seasonal Stressers: How To Unwind At Work, At Home, and Everywhere in Between During This Holiday Period

December 14, 2012  |  

End-of-the-year work crunch. Holiday shopping and entertaining. Crowded public transportation and traffic jams. This can all lead up to major stress. But you can take steps to de-stress and enjoy the season to its fullest.

At Work

Stressers at work can be at an all-time high at this time of year, as projects may need to completed before the year’s end, you may have more meetings with potential clients to ink deals to start 2013 off, or you just want to get organized before the new year comes in.

There are ways to elevate pressure on the job, especially before a major presentation or meeting:

  • Keep a photo of your significant other or close friend with you. “A minute or two spent looking at the photo before you are ‘on’ can reset your nervous system. You’ll then feel more relaxed and confident because you’ll feel more grounded and at home, even in an uncomfortable or unusual setting,” writes Inc.
  • Keep something on your desk to play with, like a squeeze ball.The process of squeezing and tensing muscles and then letting go–even if just using fine motor movements–drops your heart rate and makes you less nervous. You can also play with beads or roll stones in your hand; that’s why playing with a pen helps many people focus,” according to the magazine.

At Home

It’s hard not to bring the stresses from work to home, and during this season you may find more tensions in the household, what with planning family events, cooking special holiday meals, and decorating your home holiday hosting. So it is important to have peace of mind on the home front as well.

  • Continue or start an exercise routine. “It always feels like money in the bank when you get your exercise in, in the wee hours of the morning. A good brisk walk or run just before the day begins will work wonders on holiday stress,” explains  Marlene Adelmann, certified herbalist and founder of the Herbal Academy of New England.  “Take some deep breaths of fresh air, literally fill your lungs. Hold it just for a second or two and then let it out.”
  • Sleep works wonders. You will perform better at work and have more energy to get all that Christmas shopping done.
  • Skip the coffee. “A cup of chamomile tea after dinner (not right before bed because it may cause you to wake to visit the bathroom) will insure sound sleep,” Adelmann tells us in an email.
  • Self massage. Yes, give yourself a massage when your get home. After a long day at the computer or maneuvering all the crowds during shopping your muscles will be tense.  The shoulders and neck always hold in tension, so it is a great idea to massage that area. “Reach with your right hand (across your body), resting the palm of your hand on top of shoulder (with fingers on your back) and most importantly with the base knuckle of your thumb pressing against neck muscles,” offers licensed massage therapist Michele Merhib, founder of Elements Therapeutic Massage. “Slowly rotate your head and neck, pressing neck muscles against thumb knuckle. This will massage your neck muscles. Keeping hand in same place, press into your back muscle (between your shoulder blade and spine) with fingertips and rotate your left shoulder blade. Reach and relax the left arm to massage the upper back/shoulder region. Repeat on other side.”


At Holiday Events

The season is filled with may obligatory holiday socializing, whether it be the company Chirstmas party or holiday dinner with friends or family get-togethers.

  • Make an appearance and a graceful exit. “If you have social commitment that you’re dreading, be targeted about how you spend your time when you get there. Arrive early and spend a few minutes one on one with the host. Put in your face time, do the necessary networking and be on your way,” advises organizational expert Barbara Reich, author Secrets of an Organized Mom.
  • And it’s okay to declines some offers. “Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to those events that you truly don’t want to attend. It’s having too many obligations that makes the holidays stressful instead of enjoyable,” Reich says in an interview.

So take a few minutes to unwind, you will be able to perform at work better, stay energized during your shopping and then enjoy spending time with others this holiday season.

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