The holiday season is here. For many, the holidays bring with them a lot of stress, planning events, shopping for gifts, and managing strained budgets. And then throw in that it’s 2021, and last year was 2020, everyone is feeling pretty stressed right now.
Stress is bad for everyone. It affects your health on so many levels, with long-reaching detrimental effects. It damages your immune system and pads your waistline. It causes headaches, fatigue, irritability. It affects the people around you. Stress is real, overwhelming, frustrating, and often triggers vices that we tell ourselves help us cope with stress (think tobacco, one drink too many, and other nefarious behaviors). There is very good news, though. There are healthy ways to counteract stress and greatly reduce the negative effects of this sneaky villain.
Get a Jump Start. The best medicine for stress is exercise. Exercise is great to manage stress, keep your energy up and hormones in check (hormones affect stress levels, people!). You can literally sweat your stress out with a good workout. If you don’t work out regularly, start out slowly to avoid injury, set reasonable goals so your achievements keep you going, and stick with it! Feel your stress evaporate, your strength build, your posture improve and your girth shrink! These are all reasons to prioritize exercise. Don’t forget to stretch. Stretching will minimize your chance of injury, increase your flexibility, and it also helps diminish stress!
Recognize and Evade Triggers. The simplest way to minimize stress is to avoid the unnecessary stresses in your life. You probably already know what they are. Cut out unnecessary drama and you will very soon feel the difference. This could mean scaling back on time spent with certain people, avoiding certain topics or situations, reasserting boundaries. There are stresses in life we can’t entirely avoid, like massive projects at work and big life events. Eliminate those stresses that you can and feel better instantly.
Mitigate Work stress. Often there is a way to keep work-related stress low, through streamlined software and applications, reliable and pleasant colleagues, and efficient time management. The vendors you use have a huge effect on your stress levels! For paralegals, working with a court reporting agency that meets deadlines, surpasses expectations, helps with exhibit and document management, is available 24/7 and unruffled by any last-minute schedule change is a godsend. They have realtime reporters who relish an expedite; accurate, polished interpreters, and above-and-beyond helpful videographers and techs. They offer remote depositions that are practically in-person, thanks to their reliable, steady MVC software and white glove technicians.
Prioritize Sleep. Adults are no different than babies in that when we are overtired, we are miserable, and it shows. Adults have a whole litany of excuses for why we don’t get enough sleep. Drop the excuses, set a bedtime, and wake time, and stick to it consistently. Come up with a routine to alert your body that it is time to relax and prepare for sleep. There are lots of apps for meditation, white noises, and other sleep aids. The key here is to not vary the routine on the weekends. Make it a seven-day schedule, and your body will thank you. The payoff here comes very quickly, too, so start your new nighttime routine tonight and feel the difference by the weekend!
Limit Sugar. Sugar is the worst. This sweet substance is very addictive and tough to kick. The devil of it is sugar is in everything. To really cut back on sugar, you do need to read labels. Look at the sugar content (keep in mind, women should have no more than 24 grams a day, men no more than 36), and the ingredients. If sugar appears in the first 3 ingredients, it’s probably got too much sugar in it. Sugar gives you that rush of energy, followed by a nasty crash and, as if all that weren’t bad enough, the body stores sugar as fat. It ultimately makes you sluggish and your waistline thick. It’s bad for your skin, your teeth, and your immune system. You don’t need to eliminate it entirely, just monitor your consumption and keep at or below the daily recommended limit.
Find your Reset Button. This may be time set aside for a relaxing walk, a round of golf with some friends, or doing some woodworking or knitting or gardening. Find a thing that completely absorbs you and leaves you feeling good! Make time for this hobby and enjoy that time thoroughly.
When you manage your stress successfully, every area of your life improves. You’re a better colleague, spouse, parent, friend, etc. Your productivity increases, your mood and attitude improve, and you can better enjoy your life. Try some (or all!) of these suggestions for a fun, stress-free 2021 holiday season.