Easy ways to reduce stress so you can be more calm and relaxed during the busy and often stressful holiday season.
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
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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.
2. Keep Moving
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!
3. Pamper Yourself
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.
4. Eat Well
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!
5. Get Good Sleep
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. I also take a nightly sleep supplement called Sleep Support that works really well for me. 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 do you reduce stress during the holidays? Leave a comment and let us know!