Beating holiday-induced stress can be as easy as a walk to the end of the mall parking lot, breathing deeply or taking transit.

Stressed-out shoppers should take a breather now and then and remember the anxiety-busting relief a small workout —either at or outside a gym — can offer, says The Ontario Kinesiology Association. "Even mild exercise can increase self-confidence, improve your sleep, help you unwind and clear your head, and give you a sense of control over your body and life," said Jen Chapman, president of the Ontario Kinesiology Association, in a release. 

Their suggestions:

  • Practice relaxation exercises. By tensing and releasing muscles from your head to your toes and back – holding the tension for five seconds and relaxing for 30 seconds — you can lower your heart rate and increase feel-good hormones known as endorphins.
  • Breathe deeply. Take a few minutes to breathe from your diaphragm rather than your shoulders by letting in breaths very slowly and releasing them at the same pace.
  • Sneak in some exercise. Don’t forget those gym workouts. Or, if you’re not partial to the gym, park farther away from the mall, do a few more laps around the stores, take transit to work and choose stairs over elevators as much as possible.

"Find a few minutes to get some exercise and clear your head," suggests the association. "Dress for the weather to make it easier and more comfortable."

Not only do these tips and techniques work over the holidays, but they are can help you cope with the winter blues and during  the stressful times in your life, they add.


With files from the Canadian Press