• Masarat Jilani

How to beat festive stress this Christmas

‘Tis the season to be stressed? Although the holidays are the time for jolliness, the reality can be quite the opposite - especially in 2020! It’s not just your gut which can get affected, but your mind, too. Your mind can bubble with anxiety during the chaos of the holiday season. Whether it’s navigating Christmas dinner during a pandemic, or trying to get the perfect presents for all your loved ones, or even due to worries about how festive food may cause a flare-up!

Stress is a part of life but at Zemedy, we want you to be able to manage your stress instead of your stress managing you!

Move your body

All this festive stress will be activating the adrenaline and cortisol hormones in your body and preparing you for action. But when you do not take action, the hormones will sit around in your body and give you that stressful feeling with butterflies in your tummy and your heart racing. This can really ruin your day and even set off your IBS.

One way to channel that stress is to use the hormones up with some exercise. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get your body moving. You could dance to some Christmas tunes, go for a jog or even do some yoga. The Zemedy app has lots of yoga for IBS moves you can try.

This will give you an endorphin rush to tackle the stress hormones and help you manage it! Moving your body is especially good when you feel like the stress is taking over your life, because it can provide that immediate relief.

Find moments of peace

In between the hustle and bustle, it is important to find that pocket of peace for yourself. In that moment, you could focus on some gut-directed hypnotherapy sessions to prime your gut whilst also giving your mind time to unwind - we have some amazing ones available on Zemedy. There are lots of festive films you could also indulge in for some much needed “me time”. Whether it is Love Actually or Die Hard, snuggling up and escaping from your worries may be just what you need.

Tackle the problem directly

While movie escapism can do the trick, hiding from your worries or trying to deny them is a recipe for disaster as you probably know. Try not to think of something and it will actually make it live in your mind even longer (Zemedy users will know this from our polar bear exercise!). But that’s why when people tell you to “just stop worrying” they don’t realise that it’s simply not that easy! Instead, write down your worries as you have them during the day.

Then look at the list, if there is something you can do about your worry, do it as soon as possible. Otherwise, allocate some time at the end of every day to have “worry time”. It might sound weird, but this is a method loved by many Zemedy users. In fact, we have a whole section about this in the app - with a handy area to list your worries and deal with them.

Another option would be to focus on some CBT exercises such as cognitive restructuring. This helps you identify automatic negative thoughts and work to reframe them, so that eventually you are no longer bothered by any. One of the key causes of stress is the way our mind reacts to our body and the world around us. By doing these exercises you can actually give your mind a work-out and stop unhelpful thoughts causing you stress!

Use your gift of the gab!

What better gift to give than a heart-to-heart? Remember, the Zemedy community is here for you. If you need to vent or unload your festive worries, we are here to hear everything. Sometimes, offloading to a community which understands you, can halve the worry.

Do mince pies cause a bloat? How to navigate Christmas dinner with a flareup? No question is too embarrassing for our community forum. We know the pain and we are here to support!

Whatever method you use, we wish you a stress-managed Christmas. We would love to hear your stress-busting tips - don’t be shy and share away.

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