How Can You Relieve The Stress From The Holidays?

How can you relieve the stress from the holidays? Our forum members share their ideas and suggestions to help you lower the holiday season stress load. Lower your stress now by trying the following...


TOPIC: How Can You Relieve The Stress From The Holidays?

The Question:

Stress is not good for anyone and the holidays can be extremely stressful. Decorating, buying gifts, preparing home cooked meals for a family gathering, etc. are just some of the perks you get with the holidays. Unfortunately these stressful things could bring on the winter blues for some people.

How Can You Relieve The Stress From The Holidays?

What is your favorite part about the holidays?

What do you hate the most about the holidays?

Bonus Question: If the Holidays were not so commercialized do you think it would be less stressful? Please Explain.

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - Mtguy8787
View This Author's BodySpace Here.


Lessening The Responsibility Load

Responsibilities are a major contributing factor to holiday stress. As if working half the day to prepare for celebrations wasn't stressful enough, worrying whether or not all the tasks are finished further adds to the burden. Reduce this burden by reducing your holiday responsibilities.

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Cater Meals:
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    Preparing the perfect holiday meal can be a stressful experience. If you traditionally have guests over, meal preparation can be even more stressful than preparing dinner for family alone. Catering this responsibility out to a professional service can be a huge relief. This may not be an option for everyone, but if so, it may be worthwhile to consider it.

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Leave Your Work Where It Belongs - At Work:
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    If you are a workaholic who spends his holidays with his laptop and reports, make a resolution to lock them in a box and throw away the key - well not literally. So many people I know see the holidays as a time to catch up on work, or even worse, as a chance to get some EXTRA work in. The holidays are for family, fun, and relaxation. Leave the work where it belongs.

Stress
+ Click To Enlarge.
Leave Your Work Where It Belongs.

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Make Gift Shopping A Secondary Priority:
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    If your holiday thoughts are plagued by that constant nagging to find the perfect gift for that certain someone - along with the other 17 - it may be time to rethink your game plan this year. Take a visit over to the camp where quality trumps quantity. Come on, one year won't hurt, will it?

    Choose one special item for each person, and stick with it. And if you love to buy gifts for all your friends, an inexpensive gift card for each is a good way to go. Plus, you'll save hours by not having to wrap all those gifts.

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Share The Workload:
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    If your house becomes the holiday destination for many other family members, see if you can get them to help with the decoration, cooking, planning. Rather than suggesting that they help with the tedious, boring tasks, turn it into a fun competition.

    Divide everyone up into groups, and assign each to a part of the house. Award a prize to the group who does the most creative job. If you have a few relatives who are handy in the kitchen, do the same for the cooking. A desert competition can be a great way to add some non-traditional fun to a boring, traditional holiday dinner. Just make sure they wash their own dishes...


Ways To Relieve Stress

There are some types of stress which you simply can't put on someone else's shoulders. But there are ways to relieve that as much as possible. The most important step, though, is to get into a holiday mindset. Remember that you are home (or wherever) to relax and have fun.

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Sleep In, Then Sleep In Some More:
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    Sleep is a wonderful way to relieve stress. And besides, what else are you going to do at 6 AM, watch the news? Turn your alarm clock off and put it in a place where there is no chance of accidentally turning it on.

    Close the blinds and draw the curtains so the sun will not wake you. Blocking out natural light will help you to sleep better, and it can also help to shut off your body's natural alarm.

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Exercise:
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    Working out is probably the last thing on your mind during the holidays. But a grueling workout isn't on the agenda here. A quick, crisp workout can do wonders for relieving stress and improving your mood. Exercise is proven to release endorphins which have a positive effect on mood.

    What Are Endorphins?
    Endorphins are neurochemicals occurring naturally in the brain. They have painkilling and tranquillizing effects on the body. In addition, endorphins are also thought to be connected to physiological processes including euphoric feelings, appetite modulation, and the release of sex hormones.

    Prolonged, continuous exercise contributes to an increased production and release of endorphins, resulting in a sense of euphoria that has been popularly labeled "runner's high".

    Keep the workout short and sweet. Rather than trying to set a new bench record, focus on doing easy, invigorating exercises. A few minutes of cardio followed by some dynamic stretching or yoga will be much better in this case than sets of 20 rep squats.

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Read A Book:
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    Reading a book is great way to withdraw your mind from all responsibilities. If you aren't into novels, try reading a book on training theory, a new hobby, or whatever else interests you. Also be sure to have a tasty snack food on hand. Just don't overdo it, and consider something besides Doritos. You don't want to gain TOO much fat over the holiday season.

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Favorite Part
What Is Your Favorite Part About The Holidays?

My favorite part of the holiday season would definitely be the food. I love eating all types of food, from American or Chinese, to Italian or Mexican. The more variety there is on the table, the better. I also enjoy doing many snow sports during the holiday break.

I usually don't have much time to go up to the ski lodges, so the holiday season is a great time for that. I also enjoy going to the gym during the holiday season - hardly anyone else is there. I don't have to wait to do an exercise, use the showers, or water fountain. It is a good break from the usual, crowded environment.


Least Favorite
What Do You Hate The Most About The Holidays?

My least favorite part of the holidays is definitely the Christmas tree. Decorating it with the family is great fun, -- the problem is after all the celebrations are over. My family gets a live tree every year, taken from the mountains near our home.

Tree
Click Image To Enlarge.
Christmas Tree.

After about a week or so, all the needles begin to fall off. The living room is covered with thick carpet, and the needles get lodged in the fibers. It is a pain to clean up and even several days, after much vacuuming, a random needle will still break underneath my foot.


Bonus
If The Holidays Were Not So Commercialized Do You Think It Would Be Less Stressful? Please Explain.

Most definitely. Commercialization is largely to blame for turning Christmas into the stress-fest it is for so many people. TV commercials, magazine articles, and internet ads have turned Christmas into the longest, most stressful shopping spree of the year.

Kids want all the newest gadgets seen on TV. Parents who want to make their children happy are easily left dumbfounded by hundreds of the latest, greatest Christmas gifts. Advertising presents so many perfect gift items that leave the gift shopper almost powerless to choose just one.

Without so much commercialization, Christmas would be much less of a mad rush to get a present before it's out of stock. When the Xbox came out, I personally witnessed two gift-seeking people make a frantic dash for the last console on the shelves. The individual who lost the race dashed over to the store counter in the hopes that there were more in stock. There weren't.


2nd Place - bigcalves
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

The holidays are a time for family. It's that magical time of the year where you can relax and enjoy the company of your family. Thanksgiving kicks off the holidays and until the start of January everyone is involved in some way or another.

Decorating the Christmas tree or packing the gifts or stuffing the turkey. All of these factors come with the holidays, and depending on where you live, you will get snow or cloudy weather that will add magic to your holiday mood.

The holidays are a time to take time off to be thankful. To look around in your life and what you have achieved so far through the year and to analyze everything around you. It's time to be thankful for your loved ones and friends.

Even though the holidays bring us this cheer and excitement, most people find themselves overwhelmed and stressed out. Some people might be overwhelmed with the idea of buying all those gifts, or making sure that their house is properly decorated or it can be as simple as worrying how you're going to make your diet work with all the cheat possibilities that grandma cooks.

Related Cheat Meal Articles:

Everyone is different, but stress is common during the holidays. It can be brought to you from the stand point of financial reasons, or personal reasons. I personally am stressed out because I have to plan all these new events and things that will happen, especially in December, while all together keeping my busy workout schedule.

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This year specifically I'll be cutting all through December which means that lifting and cardio will have to fit in together with all the holidays and all the family events. That's only one example of how people can be stressed out during this time of year.


Relieving Stress
How Can You Relieve The Stress From The Holidays?

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Recognize...
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    As we already made it clear, stress will come with the holidays. It's normal and nothing to be ashamed or worry about and make it worse. The first step to treating a problem is recognizing that there is one. So we made it clear that stress will come.

    Your task is to think back to last year or the year before. Heck, you can think about five years ago. So, what made you stressful? Most people when they do this will find out that it's the same exact thing every single year that messes with you.

    It could be paying the bills while buying all these gifts for your family or it could being to stick to your diet because there's fatty food at home. Whatever that thing is, the first step is to mentally visualize it and be prepared for it.

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Schedule/Plan Ahead:
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    After you have found out what worries you or makes you stressed out it's time to plan and see how you are going to handle it without stressing. This means you have to schedule your plan for the given amount of time. If you are like me, it's those 4 weeks in December that you have to worry about. What I do is the following...

    I create a plan with all the goals that I need to finish before the holidays come. That includes buying gifts, buying the Christmas tree and buying all the groceries for the Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner. After all, since I know that I have to do, all I have to do is follow a list step by step.

    Next, I plan all my workouts and cardio sessions. I take days off accordingly to the holidays. I just schedule my days around the holidays and not on them. After all, leg day wouldn't be a good idea on Christmas morning after a few cups of Eggnog.

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Take Your Time / Don't Panic:
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    Stress comes from rushing. So if you are always hurried and think you will be stressed out, plan ahead accordingly - your job is to take it day by day. Feel free to make adjustments to your schedule and that way you will be successful with your goals.

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    If you have leg day on thanksgiving but you know you have to drive 3 hours to see your family, don't panic. It's clear that you won't be going to the gym on that day (unless you really hate your family... LOL).

    So instead of getting upset, go out for a 20 min jog in the morning and have a nice Thanksgiving. Workout legs the next day, and take advantage of the carb load from the big dinner. After all holidays come along only once per year and it's pretty sad to miss them just because you poorly scheduled your month.

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Maybe Slow Down?
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    Maybe you haven't taken a break from lifting in a while. It is actually beneficial to stop for a while and rest your body. If that's you and you feel physically tired all the time, then the holidays will only make it worse. Sure it will get stressful, but if you're already stressed from the month before you will be in trouble and might just blow.

    If that's the case, just follow all the advise from above, except plan at least 2 weeks off. That means no lifting. If you are like me, those weeks are cruel and unusual punishment, and you easily get depressed.

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    The way I would deal with it is staying busy with something. Maybe buy a new game for the dusty Xbox. That way you will be occupied without being depressed for the lack of the gym.

    You can also take advantage of all this free time and focus on gifts and all the holiday chores that are stressful. That way you will take one responsibility out and get another one in, which in return will allow you to stay balanced without tipping the scale toward the 'stressed out!' side.

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Some Tips:
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  • Take the time to rest
  • Don't worry about rushing, by planning ahead and making a schedule
  • Take well deserved breaks from the gym
  • Stay motivated on your diet and don't loose shape of your routine
  • After all it's the holidays, so don't be too strict
  • Find a right balance that fits your lifestyle
  • Save extra $$$ before hand so you have funds to spoil yourself with


Favorite Part
What Is Your Favorite Part About The Holidays?

The holidays are full with excitement. Each holiday has a specific theme or lesson if you will. That gives you a chance to focus on your family or loved ones. Take thanksgiving and Christmas for example. Both holidays make you thankful about who you are surrounded with. After all, humans are social creatures, and the holiday season is all about recognizing that and being thankful and respectful towards one another.

Each holidays comes in with a special food theme. You get the chance to eat good foods that are especially made for that holiday. Turkey on Thanksgiving and ham on Christmas are some of the traditions that my family and many others share.

Turkey
Click Image To Enlarge.
U.S. President George W. Bush With "Flyer" The Turkey.
The President "Pardoned" Flyer Before The Thanksgiving Holiday.

It's something about the holidays that makes the food extra special and the theme magical. Turkey tastes like turkey, but on Thanksgiving it has an extra special taste. It might be because you know millions of people are eating it and that's what you are supposed to be doing or it might be the magic of the holidays.

Personally, I take the holidays season in stride. I don't freak out and stress that much. I take the time to realize everything around my life. Just stop and smell the flowers I guess.

I look around the people around me and I realize how lucky I am. Also I tend to take measurements of my body and compare it to last years and see how well I improved and what I need to push extra in the gym. It's a great time to say 'STOP' to everything around you, analyze it, correct the mistakes and do better for next year.


Least Favorite
What Do You Hate The Most About The Holidays?

The holiday season for me is pretty chill. I usually enjoy every aspect of it. The only things that are bad that I think of is the financial aspect of it. Everybody expects you to give them something.

Now this can be a good thing because you will get things, but it's not easy to say hey I can't give you anything because I'm low on cash this month. And when you have at least 20 people you have to 'cover' for you are financially rocked during the holidays.

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I hate the expectation about gifts and how you are supposed to give something in order to be 'okay' or be normal in the holiday season. I guess not everybody has this problem but college students can agree that the holiday season is stressful just because of this major factor that a lot of people face.


Bonus
If The Holidays Were Not So Commercialized Do You Think It Would Be Less Stressful? Please Explain.

I think that the only reason why the holidays are so stressful is because they are commercialized. It's the feeling of 'you have to' that gets most people. It could be buying gifts and spending a lot of money because of what 'you have to do', or it could be buying certain things that you don't even care about anymore such as Christmas style plates or Thanksgiving design napkins just because the TV says that 'you have to'.

I think that people are so stressed because they feel like they have to reach a certain standard for the holidays that the media portrays. But hey that's how money is made. Our job is the realize that and plan ahead. After all, commercialized or not, the holidays are a great time filled with excitement, good mood, joy, and that magical feeling. It's time for family and tradition.

Have a great holiday season!

Brenda
Click Image To Enlarge.
Happy Holidays!


3rd Place - no_strain_no_ga
View This Author's BodySpace Here.


We Wish You a Merry Christmas
And A Panic Attack As Well

Oh, how fun the holidays are! You get to spend time around the table eating your bundle of ham, yam, and rolls while chugging down the eggnog, but not forgetting about the apple pie that is warming itself up in the oven.

Next morning you get to open all the presents that everyone got you, from the new PS3 to the sweater that grandma always gives you. But that is just after the weeks of figuring what to get your wife or your children or what to send Uncle Peter up in Alaska.

Then all the driving from the malls and heading over to the nearest Best Buy to get the 5 remaining 46" Flat Screen TV. Then the night of wrapping everyone single present you got and writing "From: Santa" on them. It gets pretty stressful after all of this. But does it have to be this stressful? NO! And you know why? Because I have some tips on how to make this or next season a little bit better on yourself.


Relieving Stress
How Can You Relieve The Stress From The Holidays?

So, you want to make the Holidays a little bit relaxing for you? Well, you came to the right... THREAD! Because I have some tips that will not make you break a sweat.

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1. Be Prepared:
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    Know what to get everyone. Don't wait at the last minute to ask all the relatives what they want. If you ask at the last minute then it will probably take another 2 to 3 days for them to come up with an answer.

    I say ask them before a month or 2 before December and write this all down. If they tell you to wait and they don't tell you what they want, ask them again. Don't be stressed out at the last second because little Jimmy didn't tell you that he wanted the new Batman doll at the last second and now there are none out there. Scout Motto = Be Prepared.

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2. Buy In Advance:
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    Know what everyone wants and buy waaaay before. Don't wait for or after Black Friday to get EVERYTHING. If you are waiting until Black Friday it better be a reason like you are buying something very expensive and waiting for the price to go down. But everything thing else should be bought before this.

    The longer you wait and buy everything you need, the less likely that particular thing you are looking for is still around. And Buying in advance gives you more of a spread-out time to buy everything and don't need to get everything in 2-3 weeks.

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3. Spread Things Out:
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    Don't cram everything in a short period of time. Write out what you need to do and make a list when you are going to do each thing. I say do this about 3 moths out. So then you can change anything that might need to be changed and you know what to do.

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4. Get Some Extra Help:
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    Don't try to do everything by yourself. Get your wife or children or even friends to help buy and wrap everything up. Offer to help do theirs if they do yours. This will give you less stuff to worry about and more time to relax.

Santa's Helper
Click Image To Enlarge.
Santa's Massive Helper.

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5. Take A Break:
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    You don't need to be doing everything everyday. Take a weekend and just chill. Go to the park or beach and just enjoy the fresh air. Stay at home and read a book. Get out at night and drink a beer or two. Don't get caught up in all this Holiday Madness. Stop, Breath, and Relax. This will make you feel much better.


Favorite Part
What Is Your Favorite Part About The Holidays?

For me, the best part of the holidays is just spending time with the family. I will admit, I do like getting all the presents that I receive, but spending time with the family is the best present of all. Mostly my grandparents come down from Minnesota and spend the holidays with us (not this year) and we do everything when them, since I live in Florida and it doesn't snow. But spending and enjoying the holidays together is the best time.

We have a fun and great time sitting together and just talking and passing a few laughs across the table. But as I said, I enjoy receiving the presents. This year, I'm getting the PS3, h*ll yeah, and can't wait. I mostly get one big thing and then a couple medium and small things, but I'm getting a extra load of big things this year. As well as getting the PS3, I'm also getting a ticket to go to Australia this summer and I can't wait. Pretty much the best Christmas yet.

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Which Is The Better Gaming Console?

PS3.
Wii.
360.
SNES.


Least Favorite
What Do You Hate The Most About The Holidays?

I will have to say that buying all the presents is the least favorite thing about the holidays. Although one of my rules says to ask everyone what they want before, I have never done that. I always wait and wait and then I ask and then I have to go out and try to get everything that everyone wants.

For my sisters, it is even worse. Because unlike your parents, you can get them perfume or a new watch or something like that, but for siblings, even harder when they are the opposite sex, it is a pain in the butt. Because you have no idea what they want or what they like and if you get something and when they open it they go "Oh, I don't like this" it is a so tragic on yourself. Because you have to go back and get a refund and if you didn't keep your receipt, you're screwed.

Not so long ago, 3 or 4 years ago, I could have said that the ridiculous Christmas picture with Santa was the least favorite part of the holidays, but luckily that phase of life is over.


Bonus
If The Holidays Were Not So Commercialized Do You Think It Would Be Less Stressful? Please Explain.

I do believe that if the Holidays weren't so commercialized, it would be less stressful - on me and everyone else. Before it was just remembering the Birth of Jesus and then it developed to giving presents to one another. Then you had to decorate your house and put a Christmas tree up and every year the presents get bigger and more expensive.

Now the whole meaning of Christmas has changed and is shown to society in a different light. If it wasn't so commercialized (that you had to buy presents and have lights that can been seen from space around your house), then yes the Holidays would be less stressful.

Christmas Lights Visible From Space!

The less commercialized it was (that you had to spend so much money on stuff that you probably wouldn't need in another 3 years) - you could simply give the money to the needy and poor. Instead of buying canned food or clothing for a hungry family on the streets, we are buying our children Barbies or GI Joes that most likely will get destroyed by the head falling off or missing a arm.

Most of these things could buy 2-3 cans of food. Something that wouldn't go to waste. Although some would say Christmas wouldn't be good if you did that, instead it will probably make a family really happy and THANKFUL that someone cared for them in a very commercialized time of year.

Am I done? I think so. So I guess I am finally done typing and talking about the Holidays and be one step closer to Christmas and another leap to the New Year. 2007, here I come!

RELATED POLL
Have The Holidays Become Too Commercialized?

Yes, Far Too Commercial.
No, Just Fine.

-Mike K

P.S. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! HO HO HO!!!