Stress and the Holidays: Tips from Kelly Walsh

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Glitter Magazine sat down with Kelly Walsh, M.ED, ACC. She’s the president of 1 Smart Life. Over the past eighteen years, Kelly has successfully coached business leaders and people from all walks of life to reach their highest potential. The holidays can sometimes be stressful and Kelly sat down and gave us some great tips for staying stress-free around the holidays. We promise you won’t regret it. Her tips will help you survive the holidays and then some.

GLITTER: What are some ways teens can stay stress-free around the holidays and test-taking time?

KELLY: This is a time that we put high expectations on ourselves to make the season perfect and do manage the crunch time as classes come to an end.  If we let it, the stress can really get to us.  Make a plan to stay in the driver’s seat and not get pulled under by the pressure:

  • Plan ahead – holiday activities and exams aren’t a surprise.  They are coming so don’t wait to the last minute for any of it.
  • Get by with a little help from your friends – form study groups and remember to take some relax breaks (video games, exercise, listen to music)
  • Learn good test taking strategies (get enough sleep, look through the test to make sure you leave yourself enough time to finish, deep breaths if stressed)
  • Know what environment you need – not everyone can work with the TV and music on….respect your style and hit the library or coffee shop;

GLITTER: What activities can teens participate in to lower their stress level?

  • Take a walk or run break
  • Listen to music – even lie down and visualize conquering the next goal
  • Stay connected to friends and family
  • Have a wind-down strategy at least an hour before going to sleep

GLITTER: Can you describe a well-balanced, healthy meal that would help lower stress?

KELLY: There are many foods that are known to lower stress and anxiety because of their vitamin or mineral composition and how they calm your brain.  Some of these foods were actually tested by giving them to people who had to give speeches and do hard math equations and their blood pressure stayed down.  So think about staying away from the carbs you might crave and trying these:

  • Raspberries, blueberries
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Cashews & Walnuts
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Dark Chocolate (yes, really!)
  • Garlic
  • Grass fed beef
  • Green Tea
  • Oatmeal
  • Oranges
  • Oysters

(source Prevention magazine, July 2013)

GLITTER: How can teens keep a positive attitude around negative people?

KELLY: Negative people spread their negative attitudes like a contagious bad cold.  Often, their downbeat ways are a habit they don’t even realize they have. How can you avoid the toxicity?

  • Change your habits!  If you have lunch or coffee every day with a complainer, change the standing appointment – no need to place yourself in that space.
  • Surround yourself with more optimists than pessimists.  Be with people who see the glass is half full and so will you.
  • Change the conversation.  If you find yourself talking to someone who is focused on the past or downer topics, ask questions about the future and what they would like to see that would make it better.
  • Remind yourself that this is about them, not you.  You may not be able to change them, but you don’t have to let them change you either.