How to Manage Stress Over Christmas

So the countdown has begun. We’re less than one week out from Christmas. Kids are out of school. The malls and shops are definitely busier. Everyone that is going somewhere is packing up and getting on the highway or heading to the aiport.

And there’s something else that is peaking at this time of year. Our stress levels.

Just reading that last line caused many to stiffen up and get a little more anxious. I just heard a statistic on the news while writing this that 71% of people are too stressed to enjoy the holidays. How sad is that?

And when you try to add all of the elements to the mix during the Christmas season how are you supposed to find time for fitness and training? How are you supposed to keep pace towards your goals when your schedule is disrupted? When the kids are h0me from school and expecting you to spend some time either with them our driving them around? When your gym is closed or you’re out of town and don’t have access to a training facility?

While I won’t get into the training during this article I don’t want to leave you high and dry. There’s help on the way.

But how does that work? If we’re not going to address the training side of the equation than it’s pretty obvious we’re talking about the nutrition, right?


Instead I want your efforts to be on the recovery side of the equation. Specifically we’re talking about the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that has to do with ‘rest & digest’. We’re all familiar with the counterpart which is ‘fight or flight’ but no one remembers the other side of the equation.

So don’t stress about your gym being closed. Don’t worry that you didn’t get in your sprints. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself when you sit down to eat with your loved ones over the break.

Here’s what I want you to do instead.

Make a list of what you like to do to relax. Maybe it’s a relaxing bath with candles. Or watching a funny movie. Play a board game with friends. Do a sudoku puzzle. Read a book that is tough to put down and you dread when you’re getting to the last few pages.

Do you see the theme here?

Do fun things. Do things you enjoy.

I want you to really pump up your parasympathetic nervous system over the break. This will allow you to:

* manage this stressful time of year

* allow you to enjoy the holidays a little more

* not put extra pressure on yourself during the holidays

We never want to see our clients training 24/7. There is a huge benefit to getting proper fuel, hydration and rest in order to realize the best results. When you switch your focus from a training emphasis to one of recovery and regeneration  you’ll find that you won’t lose as much as you thought over the holidays. Plus you’ll come back to training with a renewed vigour and be able to push harder in 2012.

Merry Christmas,


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