The jingles of the Christmas season have started to fade as we enter the first weeks of January. While holiday indulgence may have left you merry -- and even a bit plump -- you're likely beginning to feel stress from spending all that money on gifts, travel, and charity.
You're surely aware of the negative influence stress can have on your health and quality of life, so consider adding some or all of these seven stress-relief tips to your plan for the new year:
- Talk to someone. Going through anything alone is infinitely harder than if you have someone on your side. Discuss how you feel with family or friends who care about you. Don't be shy about seeking council from professionals, as well; for instance, if you're under a great deal of financial stress, speak with a financial planner about optimal strategies and options.
- Exercise. It's been shown time and again that exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety. Don't make the excuse that there isn't enough time in the day to get in a workout. Instead, make it a keystone of your day, and realize it's integral to helping you feel good -- both inside and out.
- Meditate. Meditation is another tactic that has proven remarkably effective in lowering stress and anxiety. And before thinking "it's just not for me," recognize that the practice of meditation is quite far-reaching and can be as simple as applying basic techniques to help promote relaxation. Whether it's in the guise of practicing yoga or simply resting on the beach, take a moment or two to reflect and clear your mind.
- Enjoy the moment. An integral aspect of meditation is being present, or practicing mindfulness. Various studies have shown that doing so relieves stress and results in declines in mood disturbances. Therefore, try to adjust your focus from what you can't control to the beauty of life in front of you.
- Get organized. Whether in the workplace or at home, staying organized helps positively affect your health and mental well-being. In fact, researchers from The Journal of Neuroscience recently demonstrated that, when people do tasks in organized environments, they perform better and show less stress than when they're in unorganized environments. Why not put this theory to the test and move spring cleaning up a few months? Or maybe there's some aspect of your life that could benefit from a healthy dose of organization.
- Spend time with loved ones. You may have just spent the last month around your family, but just because it's no longer the holiday season doesn't mean that has to stop. Carve out regular time to spend with your loved ones, and because there's no love without support, don't hesitate on lean on them if you're going through a rough patch.
- Prioritize. What's really important to you this year? Is it finding a new job? Getting out of debt? Spending more time with your spouse? Sit down and prioritize what you want to accomplish, and try to eliminate outside distractions. Set short-term goals that outline your plan in a manageable fashion. However, in doing so, never forget to leave enough time to decompress; that's where meditation and exercise come in!
Everyone loves a fresh start; think of 2016 as another chance to get it right. You can make this year one of your best ever with the help of these stress-relief tips. If not now, then when?