The holiday season has officially arrived, which means a lot of you are feeling S T R E S S E D. With all the travel, family time, emotions, crazy schedules + general chaos that the holidays can bring, it’s normal to feel a little out of sorts — even if it’s your favorite time of year!

I know it’s easy for me to just sit here and tell you all the things you can do to manage your stress… so instead, I thought I’d share some things that work for me. I’m all about being proactive, meaning I try to incorporate stress management even when my stress levels are low. This helps keep it to a manageable level when high-stress phases (like the holidays, for some of you) arrive.

Here’s what works for me.

I allow enough time for sleep. I give myself at least 8-9 hours from the time I get in bed until the time I have to wake up. I rarely make any sacrifices here. Sleep is so important for keeping our hormones balanced so they can do their job. If you’re constantly sleep deprived, you’re going to get stressed much easier than if you’re getting the appropriate amount of rest each night. Sleep is my #1.

I spend time outside. This is usually in the form of walking our dogs. Fresh air is a huge stress killer, and it gets harder to spend time outside as we get increasingly less daylight + colder air. But I make it a priority.

I move my body. In some way or another, on most days of the week I switch it up between yoga, going to the gym, or exercising outside. This is a must-do for me to feel sane.

I eat whole foods. By putting nutrient dense foods into my body, I ensure that I’ll have enough energy to get through the day without experience mood disturbances from being hungry.

I write things down. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I start writing down all the tasks I need to complete. When I put it on paper, I’m able to visualize/prioritize what I need to get done. Once I’m able to look at it, it’s usually not nearly as bad as I originally thought.

I leave time for mindfulness. With the cooler weather, I’ve been taking a lot of saunas and baths. I use this as my meditation/relaxation time, even if just for 10 minutes a day. (Infrared saunas have a ton of other health benefits, too!)

I keep it in perspective. Usually, whatever is causing me stress is SO SMALL in the grand scheme of things. My problems are good problems, and I try to remind myself of this when my stress seems to take over. It’s all about perspective.

I have hobbies. I’ve mentioned before that having hobbies are so important for many reasons, stress relief being one of them. Outside of Counseling Virginia Beach my go-to hobbies are cooking and paying guitar.

Remember to take some time for yourself in all of the craziness this week. We are getting ready to head to Kansas City to spend the holiday with my family! I hope everybody has a GREAT Thanksgiving!