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Coping With Holiday Stress


Monday. November 30. You’ve survived the madness called Thanksgiving. Black Friday is over. Tomorrow you’ll turn the calendar page and realize it’s December, the month where joy and anticipation collide with stress, indecision, and over-indulgence. Before you jump in with both feet, consider scheduling in moments of serenity, calm, and gratitude.

Today’s featured image is a sea view from the Kohala Coast, a view I encountered while walking along the shore. Walking is a great stress buster that cost nothing but a few minutes of your time. If you let it, walking can put your brain in a meditative state. If you’re able to walk outside, the fresh air reduces stress. Walking boosts your “feel good” endorphins. What’s not to like?


Watching fish reduces stress – that’s one reason so many doctors and dentists have fish tanks in their waiting rooms. Recent studies prove that simply watching fish swim lowers human blood pressure and reduces our heart rates. Added bonus – the more fish we watch, the better our moods become.


Take time for yourself, even if it’s only a minute. Lean your head back and look up at the clouds. If you’re inside, gaze at the ceiling. Count backwards from sixty. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which will lower your blood pressure and slow your breath.


The purpose of holidays is to commemorate events that shape our culture and provide a respite from winter darkness and grinding routine. They weren’t meant to be a frenzy of eating, drinking, and shopping. The path to serenity is always open. When the stress of being constantly cheerful starts wearing you down. Step back. The path to serenity is waiting for your footsteps.

Photos by Author. All Rights Reserved.

“5 ways to Unwinde in 60 seconds.” Health Magazine. Here

“National Walking Day: 5 Ways Walking Helps To Relieve Stress. Huffington Post. April 3, 2013. Here. 

Sarah Kanpton. “Fish Tanks Lower Blood Pressure.” The Telegraph. July 30, 2015. Here.

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


  1. I LOVE this- “The path to serenity is waiting for your footsteps.”
    Mahalo for the reminder!


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