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How to fend off holiday stress, from people who should know

When you’re in the middle of a stilted little conversation or a family feud, pause to briefly scan your body from head to toe for incipient tension, advised Neda Gould, clinical psychologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Mindfulness Program in Baltimore.

As soon as you notice signs of stress, whether it’s a rapid heartbeat or tense shoulders, take a few minutes to practice mindful breathing, Dr. Gould advised, which you can do anytime. where, including standing in an epic line at Target. “Even in 10 seconds, we can pause, notice our senses, and take a few deep breaths, and that signals to the brain and the body, ‘OK, there’s no danger right now.'”

Pearlberg, the UPS driver, makes sure his fitness routine doesn’t slip during the holidays, even though working for the shipping company is a “very stressful job” at this time of year, he said. -he declares. Stretching after work is also important, he added. I preach stretching to other drivers. If you’re going to come home and open a beer, get down on the floor, grab your beer next door, and stretch for five minutes.

Dean Reid, general manager of a PC appliance and TV store Richard & Son in Harlem, created a personal incentive program to pull himself out of the chaos of long lines and panicked shoppers at his store. “I’ll have something sweet for lunch that makes me smile and feel a little better, like carrot cake or something,” he said. “And I plan my January vacation in advance, so I can think about it when things are busy. It helps me stay calm and keep riding.

Shirel Ben Harroush, owner of kosher Gratzia bakery in Chicago, said she has already received about 5,000 orders for sufganiyot, the traditional Hanukkah jelly doughnut. She aims to do things upfront, she said — sound advice for everyone. “I ordered the supplies well in advance, so I have the jelly and custard and we’re ready,” she said. And don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it, she added. “I hire a guy just for sufganiyot, to make sure our customers get their orders.”

I have already followed his advice. This Christmas I am hosting my extended family for the first time and rather than cooking everything myself I have asked everyone to bring food. Although I would like to have my own sufganiyot guy.

If you feel your anxiety levels are creeping north in certain situations — say, the oven is out of order and guests are arriving in 30 minutes — Dr. Gould advises doing a quick bowel check. Name the three things most important to you at the time, she said, and let the others go. If your priority is having time to connect with family and friends, she says, “then you get some perspective and realize it’s okay if your pie isn’t perfect.”

nytimes Gt

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