Often during the holidays our obligations and commitments can start to feel overwhelming. So much to do, so little time! We try hard to make things perfect and sometimes our own health suffers. This holiday season, be sure to take time for YOU!
Just a few minutes of time spent on your own mental and physical health can mean the difference between a happy season and one filled with unmanageable stress. Here are 7 great ways to Beat Holiday Stress Naturally!
1. A cup of herbal tea. There are quite a few herbs to look for as an aid to relaxation. The mint family, especially spearmint or peppermint, not only gives a nice taste, but also a very mild sedative action on the body. Chamomile tea is perfect just before bed as it allows the body to relax and shed the stress of the day before you fall asleep. Lemon balm is another herbal tea to look for – both refreshing and relaxing, this tea has been used to treat issues with the stomach as well as the nervous system. Sitting down to enjoy your cuppa is essential.
2. Meditate. This powerful stress-relieving technique requires nothing more than a quiet place and a little time. For a quick relaxation break, try a Deep Breathing Meditation.
- Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
3. Go for a walk. A slow meander through the park or even around the building where you work can work wonders to ease the hold stress can claim on your body. This isn’t a race, but a chance to let yourself breathe deeply and notice what’s around you. Listen to the birds, smell the flowers, and just let yourself turn off for a few minutes. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel!
4. Pet a puppy (or a kitty). The stress reducing benefits of “pet therapy” have been scientifically documented and they are amazing! Lower blood pressure and heart rates, better survival after a heart attack, increased levels of the hormones dopamine and endorphins associated with happiness, and a decreased level of cortisol (the stress hormone). This even extends to watching fish swim in an aquarium!
5. Do a good deed. Whenever we participate in a volunteer program, we talk about the “vol-endorphins” we feel afterwards. That happy feeling of doing something for someone else is a huge mood elevator and stress reducer. It can be as simple as buying a cup of coffee for a co-worker or slipping in a word or two of encouragement to someone who needs it.
6. Reconnect with an old friend. In this age of social media, this is easier than ever. Have a friend from high school you haven’t had the time to check in on in years? Give them a call or a quick e-mail. Reconnecting with friends and family from the past can help make holidays feel less stressful and some connections may even bring a laugh.
7. My personal favorite – BUBBLE WRAP! Few things in life have the ability to relax me like a roll of bubble wrap. Relatively inexpensive compared to therapy, popping a sheet or two of those delicious bubbles helps ease my stress quickly. Each capsule popped represents a specific issue or problem – pop, pop, pop! If only all of our stresses could be solved so easily. 🙂
Wishing you and yours a very happy and STRESS-FREE holiday season!
As with all medical conditions discussed on the Internet, check first with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.
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