While we all agree this is definitely the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful—you might want to start eating these foods every day. There's nothing more thrilling than feasting with family and friends and seeing the joy on their faces when they open up your presents. But with all that cooking, hosting, entertaining, and shopping to do (not to mention the extra workload at the office before your holiday break), your anxiety levels can skyrocket.
Thankfully the founders of Tone It Up, Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, came to our rescue with their top four stress-busting hacks to help you manage the holiday hustle while still keeping mellow. We could all do with a bit of that.
Walk It Off
Sometimes the pressure can become so insurmountable that it feels as though you might self-combust. But don't let it get to that point. Take a step outside and walk it off. "If a situation at home or work is giving you anxiety, remove yourself from the setting and go for a stroll," said Dawn and Scott. "Physically distancing yourself from a stressor will help you mentally distance yourself and allow you to look at the problem with a fresh perspective. Plus, you get extra steps in."
Get Your Om On
Just 10 minutes of meditation can change everything (it also boosts your IQ by 23%), but this ancient mindfulness ritual is especially helpful during busy, stressful times. According to Scientific American, daily meditation increases activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex, which significantly decreases stress. "Karena and I start every morning with a five- to 10-minute meditation to help calm our minds and prepare for the day ahead," said Scott. "Post-workout is the perfect time to fit in a session." If you're new to meditation, follow Tone It Up's simple guide on clearing your head.
Fit In a Sweat Sesh
When all else fails, there's one guaranteed activity that will bust the stress every time: a workout. "A full-body high-intensity workout will boost your metabolism and your mood," said Dawn and Scott. "Exercise reduces levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, but it also stimulates production of the feel-good hormone endorphins. Your workout can be as short as 10 to 15 minutes. The key is to get your heart rate up."
If you're looking for something new to get you going, then bust a move to their 13-minute high-intensity interval training routine. You'll feel the stress sweat out from every pore.
Boost Your Vitamin B
While working out, walking it off, and meditating are all great stress-busting moves, there is one key ingredient your body needs to prevent anxiety from getting too high: B vitamins. "They increase your body's production of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine," they said. "Load your plate with B-packed leafy greens and lentils for a natural hit of happiness."
While you can get them in supplement form, Tone It Up recommends eating them first. Try the brand's delicious lentil avocado salad recipe (below). Nutritious and delicious.
Ingredients for Lentil Avocado Salad:
1/4 cup brown lentils, cooked
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 cup radish, chopped
1/4 cup fennel, chopped
2 cups arugula
1 tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds, shelled
1 lemon slice
2 tbsp. garbanzo beans
Ingredients for Lemon Dijon Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. shallot, diced
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor. Pulse until well combined. This makes 4 servings. Save the extra dressing for up to a week in a covered container in the fridge.
For the salad, combine all ingredients on a plate or in a bowl. Toss with the 1 tablespoon of the lemon Dijon dressing, and then top with a squeeze of lemon.
Visit Tone It Up for more recipes, nutrition advice, and workout moves.