Even the most mellow among us has been dealing with some kind of stress this (horrific) year. And now the holiday season is upon us, which has a tendency to compound that stress. How have you been doing with managing stress?

We all know stress is bad for our health. If ever there was any doubt, 2020 whisked it away with frightening gusto. Some of the more immediate repercussions of stress can be migraines, insomnia, overeating, and moodiness. Longer term impacts can include heart disease, diabetes, and depression, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid stress altogether. Again, 2020 proved that point. But there are ways to manage how you handle that stress no matter how unexpected or unwarranted it may be.

Surprising Ways to Manage Stress

Change Your Mental Narrative

What you tell yourself will eventually be what you believe. Constant negative self-talk will not only contribute to your daily stress, but will hinder your ability to handle that stress. If you would be mortified to say to someone else what you regularly say to yourself, it’s high time for a change of narrative. There are a number of ways to do this. One of our favorite ways? “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 Fill your mind with healthy and uplifting thoughts and ideas, and you’ll notice a shift in your mental narrative. As a result, you’ll relieve some of that unhealthy stress.

Spend Time in Nature

Thanks to nationwide shutdowns, hiking has become a new favorite pastime in 2020. If anything good has come from it all, it’s that fact! Not only has it encouraged exercise, which is excellent for managing stress in itself, it offers a special kind of stress relief. Harvard shared a study that revealed that just 20-30 minutes in nature contributed to a significant drop in cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Even just ten minutes makes a difference. And this is if you’re simply sitting in a nature setting. If you get up and get some exercise in nature, you’ll both lower cortisol and boost those happy endorphins!

Play Together

Play, by definition, is doing something you want to do rather than something you have to do. When was the last time you did something simply because you wanted to? Is it any wonder you’re suffering from so much stress? Play can look like so many different things. Maybe it’s a round of golf. Or knitting needles and a movie. It could be a hike or a roller coaster ride or a nap. It’s what you want to do just for the fun of it. But if you want to add benefit to an already good thing, make the time to play together with your loved ones. Playing together can help mend struggling relationship or deepen healthy ones. It can also result in plenty of laughs, which we all know is the best kind of medicine.

Get a Massage

My cortisol levels just dropped a notch at the thought of a massage. That’s because my body remembers how beneficial a massage is! Less stress. More relaxation. Happier, healthier me! The massages offered here at Amberwood Terrace Chiropractic include a soothing and relaxing environment coupled with the healing powers of essential oils. If 2020-induced stress is wreaking havoc on your health and your life, start right here with a massage. Follow it up with healthy habits of managing stress and you’ll be ready to embrace the holiday season ahead and whatever the new year has in store!