'Tis the season...to be stressed. This month, your holiday to-do list may leave you feeling harried and exhausted. Perhaps you're so busy working, cooking, shopping, or hopping from one gathering to another that there's little time to relax. Or maybe your December is dominated by traveling.

Whatever the case, experts say the thing you barely have time for right now is the very thing you need the most: exercise. Aside from keeping holiday weight gain at bay, working out is physiologically proven to increase our bodies' production of "feel-good" endorphins, boost our moods, and take our minds off the worries of the day.

Exercise of any kind relieves stress, and with the Y's extensive group fitness offerings, you have plenty of options to choose from. You can burn the stress away with a heart-pumping cardio or circuit training class. Music and movement in our dance classes can help you shed stress—and calories—in a fun and supportive environment. Or, if you're looking for something a little more zen, we've got you covered there, too. Here are our picks for calming group exercise classes that'll melt your stress away.

While you're here, use these 3 simple tips to help you de-stress in group ex:

  1. Get centered. Take just a minute or two for yourself before class begins. Practice deep breathing. Close your eyes, and be still.
  2. Push yourself. Do one more push-up than last week. Hold a pose for 5 more seconds. Squat lower. Lift heavier. The harder you work in class, the better you are going to feel afterward.
  3. Don't rush out. Use a few minutes at the end of class to stretch while thinking of things you are thankful for.

Need some extra help making room for exercise in this hectic, stressful season? We're here to provide guidance, encouragement, and resources that make sense for your needs. Learn more about the Y's wellness support services here.