As the holidays kick into full swing it’s important to keep these handy stress management tips in mind. This time of year can be pretty hectic. As a therapist in San Francisco, I see more stressed out people this time of year than any other time short of a natural disaster. The economy is sketchy, the election was brutal and now the holidays are here.

The end of the year is a stressful time for sure, but it doesn’t have to be. Stress is elusive.  You can see it, you can’t touch it, you can’t taste it and yet you can’t seem to get rid of it sometimes. Being stressed out is a choice. Before you start throwing shoes at me, let me explain…

We all have stress in our lives, we all have circumstances beyond our control. We all experience bad things that cause us stress. The thing to remember is that we can choose how we react to it, and that action alone can be a great stress reducer.

We can choose to panic and freak out or we can choose to remain calm. Both options are viable, and yet only one seems to be productive. These stress management tips will help you keep your cool in the face of chaos and they will help you to continue on your path forward instead of falling behind or remaining stuck in the mire.

Stress Management Tips

  1. Breath – Deep breathing oxygenates your blood and that is calming. Breath deeply in and let the air out slowly to achieve almost immediate calm. Breath from your abdomen, not from your chest. Take in deep breaths and let them out slowly, but comfortably. Repeat throughout the day. This breathing app is a great way to practice mindfulness breathing each day.
  2. Shake it off – Take a tip from Taylor Swift and just shake it off. Jump around and release the tension in your body. We tend to harbor stress in our jaw, our shoulders and our lower back. Take a moment to stretch out and you’ll feel much less burdened.
  3. Don’t be a victim – Most people will ask themselves, and others, what they did to deserve the poor outcome. When you take the role of victim you’re actually increasing your stress. If you don’t get the job offer don’t wallow in self pity, think instead of all the other job opportunities that are available to you. Get back in the arena, put on Eye of the Tiger if necessary and fight for what you want.
  4. Repeat a mantra – It sounds all new-agey but repeating a mantra over and over again is an effective way to calm down and reduce anxiety. A mantra can be anything that is repeated. It can be a real life word or something made up because you like the sound of it. The idea is to repeat it until you find your balance. If you want to learn more about mantras, check out this article.
  5. Get a pet – Cuddle time with your favorite furry friend can be one of the best stress reducers around. Whether you’re a cat person, dog person or even iguana person, cuddling with a beloved pet can reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure in just minutes.

These are just a few stress management tips that can help you get through the holiday season. If you’re facing something more debilitating than just regular stress and are in need of immediate help please call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or 911. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone.