Easy ways to reduce stress so you can be more calm and relaxed during the busy and often stressful holiday season.
Thank you to Natrol for sponsoring this post.
It’s always with a mixture of excitement and anxiety that I enter the holiday season.
On one hand it’s all about indulgence, fun and family – I appreciate connecting with people I haven’t seen for a while and I love the excuse to graze on appetizers and eat rich desserts! On the other hand, there’s a crazy busyness – the shopping, the decorating, the cooking, the holiday cards – that can get pretty darn stressful. However you look at it, the holiday season is an action-packed 6 weeks unlike any other time of year.
5 Ways to Reduce Stress
To keep from looking back at the holidays as a blur, I try to build in some stress relief into my schedule. Here are 5 things you can easily do to manage stress and feel calmer this holiday season.
I know, I know – who has the time to meditate? I’m telling you, meditation could be the most important gift you give to yourself this holiday season. It doesn’t have to take long – as little as 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can help reduce stress and give you a calm, mindful outlook on your day. When I’m feeling particularly anxious but don’t have time to meditate, I remember to take three conscious breaths – as a way to reset my attitude and move on with my day.
Tip: I use the Headspace app for a quick 10 minute mediation most mornings.
Exercise is often the first thing to go when you get busy. But here’s why exercise is especially important during stressful times: Exercise increases serotonin levels, which in turn helps boost your mood. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, some quick cardio bursts will get your heart pumping and your mood lifting. Lower impact exercises like yoga and walking are great mood boosters too. So keep that body moving to reduce stress naturally!
Tip: When I’m feeling lethargic, I get up from my desk and do a round of jumping jacks or a few burpees to snap me back into action!
During the season of giving it can be hard to think about doing things for yourself. It may be an overused analogy, but “put on your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else”. Yep, that’s your excuse to go and pamper yourself! This could be as simple as curling up with a good book and a cup of tea (instead of cleaning the kitchen), or indulging in a massage or facial at a nearby spa. Think of something nice to do for yourself each week to help you unwind and keep you inspired. By treating yourself well, you’ll be able to make the holiday season memorable for everyone else in your life!
Tip: For an easy at-home spa session, make my homemade lavender hand scrub.
Yes, you will indulge in pie and champagne – it’s the holidays after all! But instead of going into a food coma, the key is to make everything else you eat even healthier than usual. Focus on nutrient-dense foods that are high in protein, healthy fats and important vitamins and minerals to boost your energy and your mood. Mood boosting foods include salmon, turkey, nuts and seeds, dairy products and many fruits and vegetables. At home, I focus on making healthy meals for my family, knowing that treats are more frequent than usual. At parties, I hit up the veggie tray first and then go for whatever indulgent treat catches my eye! The detox starts in January….
Tip: Looking for healthy recipes? I’ve got a Pinterest board full of them!
Aaaah sleep! It’s something we love but don’t always get enough of – especially during the holidays. During stressful times, it’s more important than ever to get those z’s. Think of sleep as the backbone for a healthy body – without it you would fall flat. Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep with good nighttime habits like avoiding caffeine, turning off screens and allowing for quiet time before you turn off the lights. Melatonin can also be a great supplement to use when dealing with holiday travel and disruptions to your sleep schedule.
Tip: Diffuse a relaxing aromatherapy blend in your bedroom for about 20 minutes before you want to go to sleep.
How 5-HTP Can Help
Have you heard of 5-HTP? I only recently learned of it myself. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a drug-free and naturally-occurring amino acid that is derived from the Griffonia Simplicifolia plant. The primary benefit of 5-HTP is that it enables the body to produce serotonin, the chemical messenger that plays a key role in enhancing mood.
So you can see how 5-HTP could be a great supplement to add to your routine this holiday season. In my opinion, supplements aren’t a substitute for healthy habits, but can be very complementary. In addition to the suggestions I made above, 5-HTP can help promote a calm and relaxed mood, during a stressful time of year!
I’ve been taking Natrol 5-HTP supplements for the past 3 weeks or so. It’s a time of year when I often get into a funk, given the time change and decreasing daylight. Yet lately, my mood has been very positive! I do think the supplement is helping!
Natrol 5-HTP supplements are also 100% drug free (non-habit forming) and available in fast dissolve, time release tablets and capsules.
You can find Natrol supplements online, and at many local stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, Costco, Sprouts and other natural food stores.
Because I really want you to be able to enjoy this holiday season, I’m giving away a wonderful gift of relaxation! One lucky reader will win a Pamper Her gift set plus a bottle of Natrol 5-HTP! The set includes the following items:
- Eucalyptus & Peppermint Foot Soak (certified cruelty-free)
- Rosehip & French Clay Facial Mask (certified cruelty-free)
- Hand Knit, Certified Organic Cotton Wash Cloth (fair-trade)
- Lavender Essential Oil Bath Salts
- Damask Rose & Cypress Votive Candle (organic soy)
- Blue Lotus & Sicilian Orange Room Spray
Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. (Winner must be over 18 years and have a U.S. mailing address.) Giveaway goes through midnight central time, Friday, November 30th.