Reduce Your Stress This Holiday Season

“Family Feud” is a popular TV game show that asks teams of families to match the top answers to public-opinion polls on all kinds of topics. During one episode, one of the questions was “On a scale of one to 10, how stressful is Christmas?” One hundred people were surveyed and the No. 1 answer was “10!”

While the idea of a relaxing holiday season filled with merriment is appealing, the reality is that most of us are stressed out just thinking of all the extra work, travel, expense and sometimes family discord involved. The “most wonderful time of the year,” in reality, often is the most stressful time of the year. We know that stress interferes with sleep—and that a lack of sleep can cause us to feel more stressed. It’s quite the dilemma.

To come up with sleep solutions for the holidays, let’s start by looking at some of the causes of our stress and then look at strategies to deal with them so we can get the sweet slumber that we crave.

Shopping strategies

Shopping—often a relaxing pastime during the year—can be challenging during the holidays: You’re in a hurry, carparks are full and lines can be long. On top of that, we worry about our budgets and don’t want to forget anyone on our list. What’s the best way to handle this shopping-intensive time of year?

Shop all year long. When you see something that would make a great gift for someone, buy it and stash it away. I have a cupboard exactly for this purpose. Come holiday time, I take inventory and there’s usually not much left on my shopping list. It might be a little late to put this strategy into practice this year, but you can get a head start on 2018 holiday shopping after New Year’s.  Boxing Day is a great day to stock up on some bargains; stash the presents away in time for next year. Stocking up on holiday giftwrap and cards that are marked down drastically is a good idea.

Have a plan. Instead of going out (or going online) looking for “something”—anything—have a specific item in mind for each person on your list before you start shopping. This will save you valuable time and reduce your stress level.

Buy online. Online shopping allows you to research products and compare prices—and not waste time and energy going from store to store to store. Many e-tailers, including local retailers that also sell their products online, offer free delivery with a minimum order or allow you to pick items up at a physical store near you at your convenience.

Give the gift of sleep. This is a great way to satisfy everyone on your shopping list. What do you get someone who has everything? How about a fluffy pillow or a set of bed linens? How long have grandma and grandpa been sleeping on their old mattress? That’s a gift they will use—and enjoy every single night. With our many latex mattress options available, you can buy one best suited to their current needs. Or how about matching pyjamas for the whole family? Imagine the photos you can post on Facebook and Instagram!

Kitchen tips

Sometimes getting in the kitchen and cooking or baking is a great way to relieve stress. But when you’re already under pressure trying to get a lot of things done, the fun flies out the window. What to do?

Manage your expectations. Not all of us are Martha Stewart—and we don’t need to be. Do what you enjoy during the season and leave the rest to someone else. If your friend loves baking, but can’t stand decorating the Christmas tree, swap chores. Ask her to make an extra batch of sugar cookies for you while she’s making hers and you can help her put up the tree. Or you can stop at a bakery on the way home from work and pick up whatever you need: no mess; no stress!

Enjoy the benefits of cinnamon. Cinnamon is one of the signature tastes and smells of the season. It can even help you sleep better because it works to balance out blood sugar levels. Bananas and cinnamon make a yummy, combo, and bananas are filled with potassium and magnesium, great for promoting sleep because they soothe the nervous system and relax the muscles. Banana peels have even more of the good stuff! I found an easy recipe for a perfect after-dinner, before-bed banana cinnamon tea. Try it!

Banana Cinnamon Tea

Wash thoroughly one banana, peel intact. Cut the ends off the fruit and chop it in half, if needed, so that the banana fits in a small saucepan. Fill the pan with water and bring it to a boil. Place the banana in the saucepan, along with a pinch of cinnamon. (Use one banana and about 2 cups of water per person.) Cook the mixture on a low boil for about 10 minutes. Then pour the tea into cups and enjoy!

(Don’t let the boiled banana go to waste. Let it cool and you can eat it, skin and all, as a snack or low-calorie dessert. You’ll be surprised how tasty it is.)

Sleeping baby and dachshund wearing santa hatsMake entertaining easier

Many people invite company over during the holidays, meaning there’s more pressure to decorate and keep the house tidy. Adding to the stress, we might see relatives we haven’t seen in a long time and it’s easy to fall into old habits and disagreements. Who can sleep after another round of arguments with your aunt—especially if you’ve been up late the night before cleaning a messy house? If you’re going to be a holiday host, keep these things in mind:

Simple is perfect. Now is not the time to try a complicated new recipe or deck the halls with delicate ornaments. Ask guests to pitch in and lower your own standards. The idea is to get together with people you love. Simply providing the setting for that is a wonderful gift.

Keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum. Alcohol accentuates and amplifies behaviour. So, if there is bad behaviour coming out, alcohol will make it worse. Alcohol also disrupts sleep: You want your guests to wake up the next morning well-rested, with fond memories of your event.

Lighten up with laughter. Last Christmas Eve, my whole family howled with laughter as we played an impromptu game of Cards Against Humanity. Your family might enjoy charades or bingo. The idea is to do something fun together. Another idea: Put on a holiday comedy like “Elf” or “A Christmas Story.” Toss hot popcorn in a bowl, first with a little butter (or vegan alternative) and then with a blend of powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve it in individual paper bags and you’ve got a fancy family movie night. Now there’s a holiday tradition you’ll want to continue.

Inspired by any of these ideas? Post pictures on Facebook and tag Latex Mattress Australia. We would love to see your holiday stress-busting, sleep-friendly strategies in action!

Source: Sleep Savvy 

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