As much as the holidays mean spending time with our loved ones – they also can mean…STRESS!
Pulling together gifts, cooking, indulging in treats and extra time with your family – no matter how much we love them, can lead to burning out.
And we all know that can happen, FAST.
I think a lot of us are consistently running at 100 MPH all the time, but it feels like the holidays exacerbate this even more.
I am SOO hoping to stay ahead of my stress this year, which is why I spent some serious time making a plan for the best techniques to use when I am feeling frazzled.
It can be hard to remember to take time to take care of ourselves and maintain our health during the holiday season – so check out these tips to help keep you calm, cool and collected.
#1 Magnesium Bath
Want to get in touch with your luxurious, goddess self? Fill up a hot bath with magnesium flakes. Try adding flower petals and lighting a candle to create some serious atmosphere.
#2 4-7-8 Breathing
Sit upright with your back straight and breathe in through your nose for 4 counts. Hold your breath in for 7 counts, and then exhale for 8 counts. Repeat this process 4 times. This exercise is literally retraining your brain on how to hold deeper breathes, and forces you to pay attention to your breathing patterns. This exercise has really helped me in deep bouts of anxiety.
#3 Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This popular method is based on the theory that if you can control the tenseness and relaxation in your physical body, your mental tenseness can also be controlled. Lay somewhere where you will not be bothered and tense a muscle group, for example, tightening your fist. Hold for a few seconds and release. Move through each muscle group until you have worked through your body. Pay attention to how your muscles feel after releasing the tension.
#4 Basic Emotional Regulation
Remember this Acronym :
PL – Treat Physical Illness
E – Eat
A – Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs
S – Sleep Well
E – Exercise
The science behind this shows that you cannot help your mind relax unless you are taking care of your physical body first or in unison.
#5 Get Outside
Biophilia is the principle that states that when you are surrounded by nature, (this can even be a picture of nature) your mood is improved, you will experience stress relief, and even increases the speed at which people heal. Get outside – Take a forest bath!
Yes, I know meditating always makes these lists, but that is because IT WORKS. I promise. There is the research to prove it. Take 3-5 minutes and sit with your eyes closed and back straight and focus on your breathing. Or complete a guided meditation, like any of these. There is no wrong way for your thoughts to travel while meditating.
#7 Drink some tea
Preferably some non-stimulating blends like chamomile, ginger or peppermint. Sometimes I let the steam wash over my face before sipping and really absorb myself in the moment. This can create some additional moisture on the face and eyes, opening up the pores and creating a warm embrace.
Even if it is a light walk, get out and exercise! We have all heard, ENDORPHINS MAKE YOU HAPPY! Even better, get outside to exercise and receive the benefits from #5 too!
#9 Get busy
Science also shows that spending time with loved ones and being intimate will help release stress and boost mood. So grab your beaux and load up the Netflix queue. Not feeling it?
#10 Pet your Pet
There is a reason cat cafes are becoming so popular in large cities. Once again, science has proven that spending time with our pets releases stress. So give your little cutie a much needed snuggle
#11 Be alone
In order to fully register and process our thoughts and feelings, we really need some solo time (even you extroverts out there!). Make some time for yourself, whether it’s time in the shower or on your morning commute and focus on your thoughts and feelings.
#12 Gratitude journal
One way to check your stress is to switch up your perspective. Jotting down a few things you are grateful for can really help center your thoughts and refresh your perspective.
#13 Work on a passion project
For me, it can be as simple as going dancing or focusing on what makes my body feel best. Spending time on the tasks that fuel our internal, creative or passionate fire can help us remain focused on long term goals and desires or just remain present.
What about you, love? Do you have any go to stress relief tips for the holiday season, or even year round? I would love to hear them and have more options in my back pocket – leave a comment with your favorite way to stay sane, below!