Christmas – it’s less than two months away.  Does the thought of that make you feel panicked or calm?  For many people the lead up to Christmas is a very stressful time.  Work demands often increase, as do financial demands.

It’s at this time of year that many of us forget to look after our own needs – we rush from one job to the next wondering how we’re going to get everything done.  This can put our bodies and our minds into a state of stress, that can build and build and ultimately lead to burnout.

There is a way out of this.  One of the easiest ways is to make sure we do some exercise every day.  At work, this can be as little as taking a five minute walk around the block, or even going into a quiet room and doing five minutes of stretches.  In the weekend, it’s easier for some people to do more exercise such as committing to a longer walk, or heading to the local swimming pool or beach for a swim.  But five minutes of exercise is better than nothing.  If you’re one of those people that says they just forget to do it, put a reminder notice up in a place where you can easily see it.  Try this for a week and see how you feel.

The reason exercise is so good at reducing stress is that it increases your endorphins (your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters).

Another great way to reduce stress is just to SLOW DOWN.  The great Hollywood actress Mae West once said: “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing slowly.”  Just by slowing down the speed at which you complete a task (whether at work or at home), you can dramatically reduce your stress levels.  Just try making your bed, cleaning your teeth or putting your files away more slowly than usual and see what happens!  Many clients tell me they actually get more things done because they are less stressed and they make fewer mistakes.