The holidays can be a magical time of year BUT they can also be super stressful. Whether you’re meeting up with family or hanging with friends or having a quieter time at home, the end of the year can bring up all kinds of stressors and overwhelm.
All of our emotions are a cycle — including stress. We need to complete the full stress cycle or else it becomes chronic stress, which is what leads to burnout. In their book, Burnout, Drs. Emily and Amelia Nagoski describe our stress cycle as a tunnel and chronic stress happens when we head into the tunnel but then get stuck somewhere in the middle.
You have to do something that signals to your body that you are safe, or else you’ll stay in that stress state and never fully shift into relaxation. And it’s not enough for the stressor to be gone. Your body needs the signal to know that the stress cycle is complete.
So let’s talk about the 7 most efficient ways to complete the stress cycle.
1. Physical activity: this is the most efficient way to close out a stress cycle. This can be as simple as a quick walk around the block or even just shaking out your body.
2 Deep breathing: breathing down-regulates our nervous system, especially when you can ta.ke a slow breath in and a slow, long breath out.
3. Positive social interaction: spending time with people we love can help to signal to our bodies that we are safe and that we can complete our stress cycle.
4. Laughter: we’re talking good, belly laughs here! Laughing is a wonderful and fun way to complete the stress cycle.
5. Affection: if you’re big on physical contact, a long hug from someone you love can help to signal to your body that you’re safe
6. A good cry: When in doubt, cry it out.
7. Creative expression: doing something creative allows you to tap into different parts of your brain and closes out the stress cycle.
What’s your favorite way to work through stress and shift into relaxation mode?