Four Holiday Stress-Busting Moves

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Quick quiz: You’re ready to scream after the end of a hectic workday, but a long list of must-do holiday tasks still looms ahead. You fight traffic to get to the mall — where someone cuts you off to grab the last parking space. You need stress relief and you need it NOW. What’s your best option?

A. Scarf down the box of chocolates you’ve been saving for just such an emergency.
B. Go home and melt into a hot bath.
C. Head to the day spa for a pampering Anxiety — and Promoting Peak Performance.

“It’s like driving a Ferrari in a 20 mph speed limit,” says Walker. “When (we are) presented with a stressful situation, adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, our muscles get tense as we prepare to react, aerobic exercise is the best when it comes to stress reduction because it does increase oxygen circulation and generally uses the body more effectively and efficiently,” says Walker. “Aerobic exercise also produces endorphins, which is a natural chemical similar to yoga and blood going.”

4. Chair squats. When you’re sitting in your office after a stressful encounter with the boss, chair squats are a quick and easy way to release some energy.

“Activate the large muscles in your legs by doing a set of 10 squats,” says Pittsley. “To do this, simply find a chair and slowly lower yourself until your behind slightly touches the chair. Finally, raise yourself back up slowly.”

After a set or two, you should feel ready for another round with the boss (or whoever is stressing you out).

Choose Your Weapon

When it comes to stress busting, the bottom line is to do whatever works best for you.

“There’s no magic pill. Whatever people enjoy doing is great,” says Durkin. “Whether it is power walking, running, Pilates, yoga, or weights, the most important thing is that people carve out three to four times a week when they can exercise for 20-30 minutes and really get their heart rates up to reduce the negative effects of stress and anxiety.”