With the holiday season quickly approaching, it can be understandably difficult to keep your stress levels low. The holidays often present a dizzying array of demands – cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining. But with some practical tips, you can work to minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying them more than you thought you would! Below, we’ve gathered some tips for you to manage your stress and improve your overall health in the process.

Focus on your breathing

If you find yourself in a stressful situation that feels out of control, take a moment to focus on your breathing. It may sound silly, but breath management leads to long-term benefits, such as helping to lower your blood pressure. When you start to feel overwhelmed, breathe in for three seconds; hold your breath for four seconds; and exhale for five seconds. This is known as the 3-4-5 method and can work to significantly reduce anxiety. Another method to try is the box method, a technique used by Navy SEALs. It’s similar to the 3-4-5 method, but you inhale for four seconds; hold for four seconds; exhale for four seconds; and hold for four more seconds at the end. If you want to learn more about breath management, keep in mind that Compwell coordinators provide breathing techniques during monthly phone calls with patients.

Natural remedies

Herbs and spices have been proven to reduce stress naturally. Lavender has therapeutic value and can help decrease feelings of anxiety. Another herb that has soothing effects is chamomile, which calms your nervous system. Try drinking lavender or chamomile tea when you start to feel the stress of the season and before bed. And that’s not all! There are several other common herbs used to alleviate stress and anxiety, including valerian root, kava, passionflower and turmeric. However, we encourage you to be aware that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbs, so contact a medical professional if you are unsure if this type of treatment is right for you.

Get active

It sounds cliche, but moving your body is a great way to shake off stress. It doesn’t have to be a hard-hitting workout – try taking a walk or practicing some basic yoga moves. In yoga practices, deep diaphragm breathing allows you to calm yourself and lower your blood pressure. A combination of breathing exercises and yoga poses will help you feel less stressed. Physical activity not only takes your mind off of your stress, but it relaxes your body. When you are stressed, the tension in your body builds easily so it is important to keep moving.

At Compwell, we empower our patients to be in control of their health, and we help them gain control over lifestyle routines, such as stress management. Our services achieve meaningful health results by encompassing what is important to the patient – including lifestyle, goals and motivations – while utilizing the latest evidence-based clinical guidelines to drive decisions. Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about our services.