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Christmas 2023: Get through the holidays stress-free – top tips


  • Although Christmas is considered a celebration of love, it can also be accompanied by great stress
  • With a few exercises you can relax and do something good for yourself

The presents are not yet wrapped, the tree is not yet decorated, the food is not prepared and the table is not set yet. Too much to do in too little time – Christmas can quickly become a burden. Suddenly you feel exhausted, you no longer know where your head is at, you blame yourself, you become hectic and irritable. In short: you feel emphatically.

“Stress is a physical or psychological reaction to a challenge we face,” explains Mazda Adli, a stress researcher at the Berlin Charité and chief physician at the Fliedner Clinic in Berlin. “The sooner we fear that our abilities may not be up to the task, the more they fall Reaction to stress out.”

Christmas: The feeling of stress is always individual

stress It doesn’t necessarily have to be something negative. “Acute stress is usually harmless and can even be stimulating,” says Adli. However, the longer the stress lasts, the more negative the effects on the body. Chronic stress without relief can eventually even become a health risk.

Many factors can cause stress. “Stress is always something individual,” explains the psychotherapist, stress management coach and author Dietmar Ohm. The most important thing is how the situation is perceived and interpreted. “Stress has a lot to do with how I classify something, but also how I assess my ability to cope with something,” he says.

Stress during the holidays: the body’s warning signals indicate excessive stress

Not only external but also internal influences, such as negative thoughts, can have an impact on personality Feeling stressed influence. When stress levels become too high, the body shows this in various ways warning signals. This can include changes in thoughts and feelings, as well as physical reactions and behavior.

“Signals of mental stress include, for example, worrying thinking, problems concentrating, increased forgetfulness, or the feeling that you no longer have an overview,” explains Ohm. However, feelings that indicate increased stress may include irritability, irritability, anxiety, sadness, anger, or listlessness.

Symptoms of stress: “First aid measures” can relieve them

And finally, stress can also manifest itself on a physical level. For example, through palpitations, increased blood pressure, muscle tension, stomach and intestinal problems, increased sweating and sleep disorders, explains Dietmar Ohm. Or through changed behavior. If you suddenly become hectic or aggressive, talk too fast and stop listening, this can also indicate that you are under too much stress.

According to experts, it is important that there is always a balanced change between stressful phases, i.e. phases of tension and phases of relaxation. However, especially during the holidays, the stress can quickly become overwhelming. In such cases, some may “First aid measures”which can be implemented without much effort, lead to immediate stress reduction.

1. Conscious breathing

“A very simple method that you can implement immediately Breathing exercises“, Ohm explains. To do this, take a relaxed sitting position and first try to consciously release all tension in your body. Then concentrate completely on your breathing and slowly count from one to five as you exhale. “It’s not about counting per se, but about emphasizing the exhalation phase, which has a direct relaxing effect,” says Ohm. According to experts, it is enough to take just a moment, because in just a few minutes you can find peace with conscious breathing.

2. Mindfulness exercises

So-called mindfulness exercises are also easy to implement. “Simply put, mindfulness means trying to get into the here and now,” explains the psychotherapist. Constantly worrying about what has happened or what could still happen negatively affects the feeling of stress. That’s why it’s important to get out of such streams of thought, says Ohm.

For example, the expert recommends that you simply look out the window and put what you see inside into words. “Just by doing this, you take a closer look and suddenly discover things you didn’t notice before,” Ohm explains. The goal of Mindfulness exercises The main thing is to get into the moment and thus interrupt automatic thought activities.

3. Physical activity

Physical activity is also particularly important for individual stress levels. Especially those who are under a lot of stress tend to neglect physical activities. However, it is a dilemma, says the expert, because Stress reduction physical activity is very important. That’s why Ohm recommends that you overcome your inner weakness and take a short walk or run, even if there seems to be no time.

4. Positive self-talk

“Why did you do it now? Couldn’t you have said something different?” The greater the stress, the more negative the internals become Comments, explains the relaxation coach. However, this creates additional stress. In such cases, it helps to encourage yourself, advises Ohm, for example with sentences like “I stay calm” or “I can do it.” Such a conversation with oneself could help overcome one’s own inner negativity and reduce stress.

5. A knowing smile

Even small physical changes can affect your emotional state. For example, it is enough just to smile briefly consciously, explains Ohm. “Tensing your facial muscles for a minute, like smiling, has a positive effect on your mood and reduces stress,” he says. Because whether you smile consciously or not, your body produces it Endorphins and reduces the stress hormone cortisol.

Long-term stress management: this is how it works

However, you should do something about stress not only in the short term, but also in the long term. The main thing is to make it permanent Protective factors and strengthen stress management skills, Ohm explains. One starting point might be to train mindfulness – for example through meditation. “There are very different techniques that have a positive effect on stress, such as traditional breathing or walking meditation,” advises the stress expert.

Yoga exercises, autogenic training or progressive relaxation can also improve the ability to cope with stress in the long term, the so-called. Resilience, strengthen. But if it’s too late, you can use the above first aid measures to reduce stress quickly and effectively – and ensure a relaxed Christmas holiday.

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