Healthstyle Blog

Ways to De-Stress Over the Holidays

According to one famous old song, the holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Yet Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year’s (plus the hectic weeks surrounding them) often leave many of us feeling depleted, depressed and downright stressed out—no matter how much we were looking forward to time spent with family and friends. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with lagging holiday spirits. Whenever your nerves begin to frazzle this season, take a few moments to de-stress with one of these tips.

1. Listen to a Soothing Playlist.

Some people can’t get enough Christmas music during the holidays, and if you’re one of them, feel free to pack your playlist with your favorite carols and seasonal tunes. If you’re not, take a break with a classical mix, some jazz, a bit of acoustic guitar, or whatever other genre of music you find most relaxing. Research has shown that listening to music can lower stress hormones, reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate.

2. Get Moving Outside.

Bundle up and hit the road for a brisk walk, jog or run. Exercise produces endorphins, feel-good chemicals that will make your entire body happier. Plus, a few minutes out in the cold winter air will perk you up and give you energy to get back to everything on your holiday to-do list. Join our Kwavithon where you are encouraged to run or walk for at least 25 minutes every day in December.

3. Meditate on Happy Memories.

Grab your holiday photo albums and page through the images of past celebrations. Think about the traditions you love the most, and allow yourself time to anticipate enjoying them again this year. Bonus: do this exercise with your family, sharing your favorite memories.

4. Bring Nature Inside.

Recent studies have found that gazing on nature can lower heart rate, even in stressful situations. Open your curtains and blinds so you can enjoy the wintery or summery view outside your window.

5. Repeat a Mantra.

Of course, you want the holidays to be perfect—but they rarely go exactly as planned. According to experts, this is one of the biggest causes of seasonal stress. Instead of feeling anxious or disappointed when you burn a dish, your kids fight, your favorite aunt cancels, or you can’t find the perfect gift, repeat a mantra that reminds you that imperfection is not the end of the world. For example, try “It is what it is,” or, to quote most little girls’ favorite movie, “Let it go.”

6. Hug Someone.

hug someone

Research has shown that physical affection increases oxytocin and dopamine, chemicals that reduce stress. Make plenty of time throughout the holiday season to hug your friends, kiss your spouse, and cuddle with your kids. You’ll feel better, they’ll feel better, and you’ll all enjoy these joyful weeks a whole lot more.

Wherever the holidays may take you or whatever you do I hope it will be fun and in some way relaxing.

What was your biggest takeaway from this article? Which one would you implement? Do you have any that you can share that is not listed? I look forward to reading your comments.

 

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