Knock Out Holiday Stress Tip #1 – Exercise!

20100524_katieMM_0123Whether it’s the slight chill in the air, the holiday decorations, or the hustle and bustle of everyone hurrying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones, there’s no denying that the holiday season is upon us.  And what does that mean?  Joy, of course.  But also increased stress.

A study performed by the American Psychological Association indicated that Americans, particularly women, are more likely to experience increased stress during the holidays[1].  The same study also indicated that people are more likely to engage in comfort eating or sedentary activities like watching TV to manage their stress.  If you’ve tuned in for the Knock-Out Stress blog series so far, you know that activities such as these are counteractive to stress management and extremely detrimental to your health and well-being.  If you’re joining this blog series for the first time, welcome!  You’ve taken the first step in healthy stress management this holiday season.  The stress relief tips you’ll find here will help you to manage stress more effectively while creating habits that will endure beyond the holiday season, so keep reading!

The first tip in the Knock-Out Stress Series: Holiday Edition is to exercise in order to release endorphins.  Endorphins are your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters, and they’re most easily released when you engage in physical activity[2].  Physical activity does not mean that you have to take a five mile run or a strenuous hike if you don’t enjoy those activities; pick something you enjoy doing that is active and make a focused effort to practice that activity this holiday season.  Your waistline will appreciate the extra calories you’ll burn while your mind will get a boost from the mental break and all the “feel-good” endorphins that will be released when you’re active.  So go ice skating, take a walk around the neighborhood to admire your neighbor’s tacky Christmas lights, or make that trek up the mountain for the perfect tree and reduce your stress while you get into the spirit this holiday season!


[1] Berktold, Jennifer.  Greenberg, Anna.  “Holiday Stress”.  American Psychological Association.  Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress.pdf on December 2, 2013.

[2] “Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.” The Mayo Clinic.  Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-and-stress/SR00036/NSECTIONGROUP=2 on December 2, 2013.

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