After experiencing the hustle and bustle of the holiday season year after year, many of the best of get burned out, stressed out, and out wallets get wiped out. But this year, we’ve compiled a handy list of some healthy and natural way to de-stress this snowy holiday season.
If you have read our previous article, you know that taking stress-reducing supplements prior to the event is extremely helpful in reducing stress. As well, aromatherapy is a powerful tool to use to help calm the mind and unwind after a long day of shopping or Christmas tree decorating. You could also light a candle and have a piping hot cup of relaxing tea. But here are a few more ways that you can soothe your body and your mind when the stress of the holidays begins to creep into your body.
Stretching or Yoga
Yoga practice combines breathing exercises along with stretching and relaxation. If you don’t know how to do yoga, try taking a class locally. You’ll notice it’s serene and calm and soothing inside where most others are there to destress too. If you’ve never done yoga or you prefer, you can just do some simple stretching. Just take a good 10-15 minutes to really get your muscles stretched to help your body alleviate any soreness from the day’s stress. Yoga works by integrating physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety better. A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce both stress and anxiety while it will also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being. But practicing yoga can also help to reduce the risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Take A Hot Bath
Taking a hot bath can have many benefits on the mind and body. The heat of the water helps with circulation and can loosen up those sore muscles. But a bath is a perfect opportunity to add some calming and soothing scents and use aromatherapy to de-stress. Lavender is universally calming, and just a few drops of an essential oil will fill your bathroom with the scent of relaxation. Another good addition to a bath is Epsom salts. Epsom salts (aka magnesium sulfate) create a wonderful soak for your body. You’ll absorb some of the magnesium through your skin to help relax your tired muscles, and the baking soda neutralizes acids on the skin and dissolves oil and perspiration. Light a few candles to really amp up your relaxation, as candlelight helps destress too!
Take A Walk In Nature
It may seem like a daunting task to put on your winter boots, hat, mittens, and scarf just to take a walk outside, but it might be worth it. Studies have shown that just being surrounded by nature’s beauty has a de-stressing quality that is hard to beat. “Nature can be beneficial for mental health,” says Irina Wen, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and clinical director of the Steven A. Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone Medical Center. “It reduces cognitive fatigue and stress and can be helpful with depression and anxiety.” Breathing the fresh air and taking in the beautiful sights of nature will surely have you smiling and glad you took the time to bundle up for a walk in a winter wonderland.
Read A Book
Another great way to destress is to read a book! Just cracking open a book to begin the journey can be a powerful way to escape the stress of the holidays. A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%! Reading works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as lighting a candle or drinking a hot cup of tea because your mind is tossed into a literary world that is free from the stressors that plague your daily life. It’s like a little vacation for your mind. So grab a book that piques your interest or a magazine that has an article in it you’d like to read, curl up on the couch, and let your mind take a much-needed vacation from wrapping those holiday presents.
Pet Your Dog Or Cat
Having a pet that you’ve bonded with and care for may help reduce stress and improve your mood and interacting with your cat or dog may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. The simple act of having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship especially if you live off the beaten path and your friends don’t have the ability to come to visit often. Just the act of a cat purring in your lap can be therapeutic for both your mind and body. When a cat purrs within a frequency range of 20-140 Hertz, nearby humans may be therapeutically benefiting from these vibrations. Even after my cat falls asleep on my lap, I’ll often scratch her head just to hear her start to purr again. Purring has been linked to lowering stress, decreasing symptoms of Dyspnoea (difficult or labored breathing), lessening the chances of having a heart attack, and even strengthening the bones. Our own animals may have the ability to relieve us of our troubles, or at least make our worries seem less important. The bond between pets and their owners may never be fully understood, but the simple act of scratching your dog’s head and ears can be a powerful stress relieving tool.
Self-care is important and we often forget about ourselves while focusing on money or what we need to get done this busy holiday season. But there is nothing wrong with realizing you are stressed out and taking a positive, healthy, and natural approach to calming the mind and relaxing the body.