The Holidays can be stressful for anyone, but for students this time of year can be especially difficult. For many of you, family members are miles and miles away (some even overseas) and that can leave you feeling isolated and lonely. Financial stress and wanting to provide gifts for family and friends can leave us feeling panicked and overwhelmed. Of course this is painfully obvious but…what should you do to manage this stress?
1st…Breathe. The simple act of taking a deep cleansing breath “stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system to trigger the body to secrete hormones to decrease blood pressure and heart rate, inducing a relaxation response.” 1
2nd…Connect. Research by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, of Brigham Young University shows, “Social connections help people handle difficult and uncomfortable emotions, including anxiety” 2. So… reach out to loved ones who may be far away; call or email or Skye. Ask your neighbors or friends what they are doing for the holidays. Chances are that they are in a similar place in their life (living in graduate and family housing and all the joy that comes with that); perhaps you can spend the holidays together. Have a potluck or share your cultural traditions. Talk, laugh and spend time with people who are here.
3rd …Reflect. The Mayo Clinic suggests that, “Holidays don’t have to be perfect. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.”3
Resources: 1. http://www.livestrong.com/article/136646-why-does-deep-breathing-calm-you-down/#ixzz2DZ1fN4lx. 2. http://www.highenergyforlife.com/articlelist/34-general-health/124-the-mother-of-all-health-tips 3. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress/MH00030