The holidays are here, and they are the most stressful time of year. Most people have stress during the rest of the year, but once December hits, the level of stress goes off the charts. Rushing to finish your gift shopping, preparing for out of town guests, worrying about making the grandest of meals are only a few things that add to our levels of stress this time of year. We will not discuss the burden of finances this time of year. I might have an aneurysm just thinking about that topic. How is a body to deal with all this stress in safe, healthy, and creative ways? Here are 10 ways to deal with stress this holiday season. You can apply these “here and now” tips to the rest of the year too.
10 Ways to Deal with Stress This Holiday Season
1. Water and Aromatherapy.
Take an hour for yourself and take a bath, feel free to use some DIY Bath soaks. Light a candle, sink into the water and relax. Focus on how that bath is making you feel and leave your stresses at the door on the other side.
Take some time out for yourself and do yoga. Take a class if you have never done it before.
3. Deep breathing exercises.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath in as if you are taking a big sip from a straw. Hold that breath in, and as your shoulders rise, what are you feeling? Hold your breath in, feel that emotion and stress. Now, breathe out slowly until your body is back in the resting position; and please, allow yourself to rest. How does it feel to just rest, to let your emotion flow out of your body as you re-balance? Do this as many times as you need to, and as often as you like.
4. Do a chocolate meditation, literally.
You only need 5 to 15 minutes for this, and what is more pleasurable than chocolate? I would like to remind you that chocolate is abundant during the holiday season. I would also like to point out that if you are allergic to chocolate or just don’t like it; you can use another food that you enjoy that you can savor.
1. Get a small piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has a substantial cocoa content and has antioxidants left in it, bonus.
2. Relax your body, take in a few deep breaths, and try to un-tease your body. Close your eyes.
3. With your eyes still closed, smell the chocolate; enjoy the aroma explosion filling your nostrils. Open your eyes and look at that piece of chocolate heaven. Keep deep breathing; you are concentrating on that chocolate and letting go of your stress. Take a bite of it into your mouth. Savor it against your tongue, enjoy the moment you are feeling right now. Let it melt.
4. Swallow it; focus on the sensation of it going down your throat. Once your mouth feels empty, take your second bite, pay attention to how you feel as your arm raises towards your mouth, as you hold it in your fingers, and how it feels in your mouth.
5. If you find yourself starting to think of other things while you are doing this exercise, remind yourself that you are living in the “Right here, right now.” The only thing that matters at this moment is that piece of chocolate and the sensation enjoying it gives you.
You can continue to meditate after the chocolate is gone if you wish!
6. Later if you find yourself reliving the stress you worked hard to combat, think about your chocolate meditation, and remind yourself how good you felt during it. Allow that memory to help you relax your mind again.
5. Music is medicine.
Music can lower your heart rate, steady your breathing, and trigger a relaxing response in your brain waves. Pop on some headphones and turn on some of your favorite music. Focus on it and the here and now of how that music makes you feel. Metal does not count for this, as it tends to create adrenaline in your system. Try some binaural beats instead.
6. Take a walk.
If your weather allows for it, take a walk. Better yet, take your dog for a walk with you. Bonding time with your best friend, the greatest stress relief of all time.
7. Relax with a cup of green tea.
Green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that helps trigger relaxation in your body.
8. Eat a banana.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium. Potassium helps ward off heart attacks and strokes, plus regulates your blood pressure. The American Psychological Association recommends potassium to help keep the physical detriments of stress at bay.
9. Read a book.
Right here, right now, take a moment for yourself and read a book by your favorite author. Let yourself get lost in that world and enjoy the mental sensations it gives you.
10. Give yourself a butterfly hug.
This technique works for anxiety, stress, and just feeling overwhelmed. See the video to see how to do the butterfly hug.
Remember, we need the chance to reground ourselves and allow ourselves to relax and put our worries on hold. You deserve time to catch your breath; you are worth it. Otherwise, burn out, and bad health happen.
How do you deal with stress? Share your tips in the comments below.