2013 will bring lots of New Year's resolutions, and the stress of keeping them up along with it.
Dr. Megan Hood, a clinical psychologist with an expertise in stress management at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, said trying to attain a more stress-free existence is a pretty popular goal around the holidays and the new year.
But staying away from stress is not as simple as making a New Year’s Eve wish.
“That tends to be a common goal, a nice broad goal,” Hood said. “But it also tends to be challenging.”
Still, Hood has some tips to keep stress at bay.
- Enjoy the moment. Don’t always rush ahead to the next thing, Hood cautions. Take a second to just enjoy the small things in life: a catchy song playing, a nice smell or something positive going on around you.
- Plan ahead—when you can. Having plans and maintaining schedules is a good thing, but make your goals manageable and realistic, and don’t worry about anything out of your control, Hood says.
- Be active. Plan an activity with your family that doesn’t involve vegging out on the couch, Hood advises. Have fun with the Monmouth County Parks System throughout January, or join a workout group like MAX Fitness of Matawan.
- Have healthy snacks available. In accordance with your overall health, be sure to eat foods that are good for you, especially after splurging on holiday food.
- Do something that makes you feel good. The holidays involve giving gifts to others, but don’t forget about yourself when they are over. Hood recommends participating in whatever brings a smile to your face, whatever you enjoy, especially social groups or activities. You may want to try your hand at art or sewing classes.
- Volunteer. Helping people helps us feel positive and better about ourselves, Hood says. Start volunteering through your local church or synagogue, or click through Patch's 'Volunteers Needed' section.
- Take deep, short breaths. Don’t underestimate the power of deep breathing. When you trick your body into relaxing, the mind and the thoughts follow, Hood explains.
- Expect the best. Always be positive, Hood adds. If you intentionally expect good things and good results, you’ll probably get them.
TELL US: How do you de-stress? Are you resolving to stress less in 2013?