As you gear up for the busiest days of the holiday season, remember to focus on experiencing the best it has to offer instead of the stress associated with it. Spending money and time buying the perfect gifts and entertaining friends and family can easily turn into anxiousness and anxiety for many Americans. Don’t let this happen to you. With a little determination and practice, you can avoid the pitfalls of stress and anxiety many suffer from during the holiday season.

 

Stop and Take a Breath

 

Taking some time out from the hustle and bustle can refresh your mind and bring back those feelings of joy. If you don’t have time to talk a nice walk to clear your head and get some fresh air, try deep breathing exercises. Find a quiet spot and exhale sharply, clearing your lungs of all air. Then slowly take a deep breath and hold it in for about four seconds and slowly exhale. If you do this for a few minutes, you’ll be surprised how this can quickly release tension and stress from your mind and body.

 

Beware of Too Much Caffeine

 

Caffeine can keep you going when the going gets rough, but too much can do the exact opposite, especially on an empty stomach. If coffee is your thing, make sure you eat something significant before your first cup! If you don’t, you’ll be sorry. Your stomach needs something to soak up all that acid that comes with every cup of coffee. Too much of that acidity, and you’ll find yourself lacking energy and focus. Too much caffeine will also increase chances of mood swings and cause insomnia. Have a balanced breakfast first and limit your consumption of coffee or tea.

 

Enjoy Small Treats (Such as Chocolate)

 

There is scientific, as well as practical, evidence showing that having a bite of chocolate regularly can reduce stress. The dark variety is the best, but milk chocolate is beneficial as well. Antioxidants called polyphenols are contained in chocolate. As well as protecting the heart from heart disease, they have also been shown to reduce the release of hormones associated with anxiety and stress.

 

Allowing yourself small treats will help keep you from overindulging. 

 

Last, but not least, remember that it’s supposed to be a celebration. Spending time with your family and friends is what’s most important. Remembering this will help you keep non-important issues in their rightful place.