If you find yourself wanting to fight over spots in crowded mall parking lots, or hike into a wooded wilderness away from your phone and holiday schedule, it may be time for a series of stress relievers. Get back to center by actively seeking peace in your daily life. Just because this a season known for being hectic, doesn’t mean it has to be hectic. Redefine the season as you want to experience it. The first, most basic thing you can do to help yourself would be to say “no” to some of those plans, and give yourself permission to not do it all. Once you have a more manageable calendar, you can address the remaining stress that collects by applying a few easy tension release techniques at different times of the day. Don’t wait until you become a clip on the 6 o’clock news to manage your holiday stress. Here are six easy wellness fixes to relieve holiday stress that you can try today:
Release Your Holiday Stress
Sage Your Space
Emotions get strained, arguments arise, anxiety flourishes, guests come and go and the transition into a new year brings about change. During the holidays, it feels like your mindfulness is constantly being tested. Even when you elevate yourself past stresses, the energies they expelled can remain in your home and reattach themselves to your aura. Shake off that energy and clear it for good by cleansing your home with sage. Burn dried white sage, either as a wand or as loose leaves in an abalone shell, or some other kind of heat-proof surface. Use your hand or a feather to waft the smoke into the various areas of your home. As you sage, concentrate on the intention of removing the negative energy. Focus on spaces like windows, closets, doors and hallways. Usher the smoke into in the corners of the room, as well as into high traffic areas. For a complete cleanse, try ringing a bell.
Bask in the Sun
This time of year commonly causes what is known as Seasonal Active Disorder (SAD), though the less technical term for it is often just, “The Reason I’m Sad and Don’t Know Why.” If you’re carrying the weight of this around with you, along with the added holiday stress, take time to go outside for a walking meditation. A brisk walk in the December sun will raise your serotonin levels and ease the symptoms related to SAD. Getting out of the house helps to lighten your perspective and connect you back to the earth. Sometime we just need to get out of our own heads.
Essential Oil Therapy
Researchers have found that specific citrus scents can reduce depression symptoms and raise the mood altering hormone, norepinephrine. Before squeezing the lemon into your tea, take a whiff of its revitalizing smell. For a more lasting effect, use lemon essential oil in your diffuser to spread the fresh and happy citrus scent around your entire house.
Take a Salt Bath
Amplify your relaxation bath time by adding some epsom salt. Not only is this practice restorative for the spirit, it has curative effects on the body as well. Running around all day and night during this chaotic season can leave you with sore muscles. Epsom salt will drain inflammation and reduce strain from muscle aches. It also regulates electrolytes in the body and assists the body’s use of calcium in conducting electric impulses. While stress drains the body of magnesium, the magnesium in epsom salt will replenish those losses to stimulate serotonin, energy and stamina.
Embrace Intentional Eating
While it’s tempting to dig into the carb-centric comfort foods, or the sugary, peppermint sweets, they can end up sending you into a not-so comfortable food coma or sugar dive. Don’t get weighed down this season. Instead, opt for raw foods, or spicy alternatives. Studies have shown that spicy food can activate the release of endorphins. If you can handle the heat, these happy chemicals can leave you feeling more vitalized overall.
Take a Breath
Sometimes the simplest things have the greatest effect. This couldn’t be more true for the practice of deep breathing. There are certain ways you can enhance deep breathing to promote greater blood circulation and holiday stress relief. One is to lay flat on your back with your legs lifted and resting on a wall. If you have issues with your lower back, you can modify this position by laying flat on the ground with your knees bent and calfs resting on a chair. Take deep, long breaths in through nose. Breathe them into your abdomen, letting them sit there for a moment before expelling them out of your mouth. You can also implement the ancient Chinese reflexology technique of applying pressure to the neuro-vascular points. Place your right palm to the right side of your forehead about an inch about the brow, and do the same with your left palm above the left brow. This brings blood into the forehead that may have drained out during the busy, holiday work week.