By: Bronwyn Ison

December is here and to some this does not mean holiday cheer. The holidays can produce a level of angst in all of us. We will be shopping for Christmas, attending parties and school functions, as well as preparing for the New Year. December is one of the busiest times of the year. Despite all the chaos there are several opportunities for you to alleviate stress.

Often our stress is self-induced. If you are like me, you may expect too much out of yourself. Desiring more is not the problem, loading too much on your plate is the issue. You must find balance to achieve less stress. Setting realistic goals and not over committing your self will be very helpful. You must prioritize and have things in order. This will help you distinguish where you are going or where you need to be physically and mentally.

When coping with stress at elevated levels… Breathe!!!! Make sure you are not using Band-aid approaches to solve a short or long-term issue. Resolve and attack the problem immediately. Not attacking the problem is procrastination. The result is potentially an exaggerated problem than you had at the outset.


Here are a few tips to help you during the holidays. Five words beginning with “R”…

1. Reorganize. I am not just talking about reorganizing your closets or garage. It is time to reorganize your health and lifestyle. Reports show a healthy lifestyle leads to less stress. Exercising is a coping mechanism many use to release stress. Exercising allows you to attain more energy and boost your immunity. You can reorganize your overall health. You will feel better and approach life with more confidence.
2. Rethink. What is negative or not working in your life? Carrying around a duffle bag of negativity is sure to run you down. Think about what you may be able to eliminate in your life. What is serving a positive purpose in your life?
3. Reduce. We are often stressed because we load too much onto our plates. Some of the activities may be joyful engagements. Yet, if you have too many things happening simultaneously it may lose its luster.
4. Relax. The hustle and bustle of life is tremendous. Integrating relaxation into your life is powerful. It can empower your day-to-day activities. Attempt to relax with deep breathing a couple times a week. Gentle Yoga can allow for deep relaxation and excellent breathing techniques.
5. Release. Reduce your muscle tension. Especially relax your shoulders. Holding your shoulders up and around your ears creates tension and heightens your stress level. Again, Yoga is a healthful discipline to work through stress and improve your breathing.

You can achieve less stress if you apply the five “R’s.” It may stress you to think how to apply them. Make lists to help organize your thoughts. Delegate responsibility to others. Remember to enjoy the moment and not get caught up in all the chaos. You may miss composing a memory with your family and friends.

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