By Bronwyn Ison

As we quickly approach the holidays our stress levels increase. The holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year.  Isn’t this supposed to be a joyous time?  The current hustle and bustle intensifies and it is easy to become overwhelmed.  Traveling, shopping, organizing, cooking, cleaning, etc.  It appears to be never-ending.  How do we stress less and enjoy more?  Each year I know this is the million-dollar question.  I’ve come up with some tips to help ease you into the holidays as well as get you through them.

Several years ago I relinquished my setting expectations.  I’ve learned when you don’t set expectations you relieve yourself from disappointment.  Perhaps you are envisioning your Thanksgiving table to look just like out of magazine.  Or, you’re hopeful your gravy will taste just like grandmother’s does.  It’s not your job to try and win the perfect holiday award.  You will make it the best you can and it will be great.  Put forth your best, you will know that you tried, and you will be able to enjoy the festivities. 

The holidays are a great time to delegate.  Refrain from taking all the responsibility.  Our family will be gathering for Thanksgiving and we’ve all assumed a dish or two to contribute.  Whoever is cooking the turkey and providing the home should be contributing less than the others.  Plus, you get to taste a little bit of everyone’s cooking.

Planning ahead can make all the difference.  If you are under prepared you are sure to increase your stress levels.  We’ve all been there. Maintaining order will help with all of your planning. 

We have a tendency to do more for others around the holidays. Plus, we are making more time for family.  You can still balance your responsibilities utilizing good time management.  Often, people neglect their exercise routines.  If possible, include and encourage your family to join you. This is quality time well spent together.  You are building memories, creating new experiences, and engaging in healthy activities together.  

Yoga, hiking, Pilates, and other physical activities will decrease your stress levels.  Integrating breathing techniques into your daily regimen can also lend to be helpful. 

A little bit of stress (eustress or acute) keeps us motivated, creative, stimulated and excited.  Episodic Acute Stress is a way of life for some and generally typical of everyday life.  The unhealthy stress (chronic) is everyone’s silent killer.  Clearly the chronic stress can reap havoc on you mentally and physically. Chronic stress can render and leave you feeling out of control and helpless.  Stay calm and cool and the rest will follow.

Bronwyn Ison is the owner of Evolve Yoga. (760)564-YOGA