The holiday season represents a time of merriment and delight, but depression, anxiety, stress, and grief often accompany the holiday decorations, gifts, and celebrations. Managing holiday stress is necessary to truly enjoy this time of the year.

Holiday stress may arise from any number of stressors. Expectations of holiday cheer and demands of busy schedules—not to mention financial strain—can quickly become burdensome during the holidays. Loneliness and longing for different circumstances may also overshadow the joy of holiday festivities. Seasonal affective disorder can drain your energy and damper your mood during the fall and winter as well.

If you’re dreading the idea of managing holiday stress, you’re not alone! The American Psychological Association found that 38 percent of people said their stress level increases during the holidays. Additional research conducted by the National Alliance of Mental Health found that 64 percent of people with mental illness reported that the holidays make their conditions worse.

The holidays are more stressful than enjoyable for many people.

To make the holidays more enjoyable, identify the stress management strategies that work best for you. Consider the four tips listed below and explore how Wellbeats classes can help you manage holiday stress.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting adequate sleep can help equip you to manage holiday stress. Your body works on ridding itself of toxins while you’re asleep; sleep also aids in learning and memory, boosting immunity, maintaining a healthy body weight, and emotional processing.

Already a Wellbeats member? Try Eat Better, Sleep Better now. In this class, Wellbeats instructor Christina S. breaks down the relationship between nutrition and sleep, explains how much sleep you should be getting, provides tips for improving your sleep, and recommends foods to eat before bedtime.

Herbal sleep remedies can be consumed in tea.
Eat Better, Sleep Better with Wellbeats instructor Christina S.

Exercise Regularly

In addition to providing physical benefits to your health, regular exercise can improve mental health, boost your mood, reduce depression symptoms, and enhance your overall mental wellbeing. Gentle, restorative exercises like yoga or walking and intense exercise like HIIT cardio or running can both help you face holiday stress.

Wellbeats’ fitness collection includes yoga, HIIT, strength training, running and walking, cycling, circuits, kickboxing, dancing, work breaks, stretching, injury prevention, and more. Already a Wellbeats member? Try Pilates Core Fire now. In this class, Wellbeats instructor Tina M. guides you through a deliberate, integrated class to strengthen your core, back, abs, and hips and help you feel your best as you tackle holiday challenges.

Pilates Core Fire with Wellbeats instructor Tina M.

Start a New Tradition

Starting your own new holiday traditions can be helpful if you find yourself facing feelings of grief or loneliness during the holidays. By doing something for yourself, you can create your own meaning and rewrite the holiday script.

Be creative in defining your new holiday traditions. Learn a new skill, volunteer your time, visit somewhere new, or begin a fitness program. Try a new holiday recipe like apple cinnamon muffins or cookie dough balls. Do yoga for stress relief or tone your body in just 20 minutes a day with Wellbeats’ Get Toned program. Do things you enjoy during the holidays, and you’ll begin to overcome holiday stress.

Wellbeats Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Practice Gratitude

When routine and repetitive lifestyles make it easy to overlook the blessings in life, a simple redirection of your attention can create a blissful experience. The expression of gratitude focuses your brain on positivity and can help you notice the positivity around you, helping cultivate more positive emotions and happiness.

Around the holidays, keeping a gratitude journal or engaging in gratitude meditation can help you develop appreciation for your life. Already a Wellbeats member? Try Gratitude Meditation as Wellbeats instructor Chance Y. guides you through a meditation and reflection on the power of gratitude.

Wellbeats instructor Chance Y. leads Gratitude Meditation
Gratitude Meditation with Wellbeats instructor Chance Y.

In addition to the aforementioned stress management strategies, exploring ways to practice self-care may also help you get through the challenges of holiday stress. WebMD offers 19 tips for coping with holiday stress and depression, and U.S. News & World Report shares 10 ways to achieve a stress-free holiday as well.

About Wellbeats, a LifeSpeak company

Wellbeats, a LifeSpeak company is a leading provider of on-demand virtual fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness classes for use in workplaces of all sizes, health plans, on college or university campuses, multi-family housing, the U.S. military, and fitness and health clubs. Based in St. Louis Park, MN, Wellbeats makes fitness accessible, affordable, and approachable for everyone. More than 1,000 classes and 35+ programs are available to help members stay on track and meet their goals. To learn more, visit www.wellbeats.com or check out a sampling of the company’s fitness classes during a Facebook Live class, and follow Wellbeats on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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