With all the busyness of the holidays upon us, stress management can be difficult. Many of us are affected by common pressures this time of year, and having resources for natural stress relief can make a huge difference. Here are 5 tips to help you de-stress during the Holidays.
But first…some key questions to consider:
- What exactly is causing you holiday stress?
- How can you de-stress yourself in a healthy way?
At its core, most holiday stress occurs as a direct result of unmet expectations. The pressure to live up to cultural, personal, and familial ideals of what the holidays ought to be can add stress to our lives, both conscious and unconscious. When these aren’t met, we are often too hard on ourselves, and allow small letdowns to be magnified under the lens of our heightened expectations.
So if you’re experiencing anxiety, struggling with depression, or finding it hard to get in the holiday spirit this year, remember that it’s so important to be kind to yourself, to embrace your feelings, and to give yourself space to acknowledge the things on your heart and mind. They are valid, even if they don’t feel like they “fit” with your idea of what the holidays should be.
We can plan the perfect holiday, but it often happens that life gets in the way, and we fail to get everything done on time or quite the way we wanted it. When this happens, it is crucial to begin to identify and release our expectations, because striving for perfection can end up being the very thing that keeps us from enjoying what we have. Practice acceptance of what is and let go of your preconceptions. Realize that often, things only seem bad when held up against our expectations, not our actual experience. Don’t let expectations rule your emotions. Releasing them can lead to a much more relaxed holiday season, and allows you to open yourself up to the joys of the here and now.
Now let’s get into the fun tips for relieving holiday stress:
Tip 1: Value your time.
Be realistic about your time. Write a list of all your obligations, invitations, etc., then rearrange them in order of their importance to you. This allows you to focus your time and energy accordingly. You can even pick the two that are the most important to you, and don’t feel guilty for crossing the rest off of your list. Give yourself permission to say “no” to things this season.
Once you’ve decided which activities are your priority, allow plenty of time for them. You already know there is going to be more traffic and longer lines. Adding 15-30 minutes to your anticipated travel time can make a significant difference in your stress level. When it comes to things you want to accomplish, take the time you think it will take and double it. Give yourself time for things to go wrong, time to breathe, time to connect with others along the way.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lean on your community this time of year. You can pay the kid down the street to wrap presents or have someone else come and clean the house. You may find it can often be an unexpected way to share holiday cheer. A friend of mine asked for help decorating her Christmas tree this year, and what was initially meant to simply be a time-saving delegation turned into a lovely afternoon of warmth and laughter that got everyone more in the holiday spirit.
So this holiday season, try to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Rest. Recharge. The last thing we want to be struggling with during the holidays is our fight or flight response. Which leads me to my next tip:
Tip 2: Drink de-stressing tea.
One of the most effective teas for natural stress relief is Tulsi tea or Holy Basil. It’s an adaptogenic herb that keeps your body from entering into a sympathetic mode, which is the fight or flight response. Adaptogens help your body physically adapt to stress. There is a growing body of evidence that Tulsi can help relieve physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological actions. Studies have shown that it even outperforms other adaptogens, such as ginseng.
This is why we created LessStress and PeacefulCalm. These two herbal formulas are filled with adaptogenic compounds. This video explores the benefits of both. I can personally attest they changed my life. I took both formulas together for months and still take some form of them to this day.
In addition to de-stressing tea, it is also important to take care of your overall nutrition, to help reduce stress through your diet.
Tip 3: Listen to de-stressing music.
In particular, you want to listen to a certain frequency. An easy thing you can do is search YouTube for 7.83 HTZ, or the Schumann Resonance. Here’s a great example. This is the frequency of the earth, and it will help ground you, as well as help your body rest and repair in the parasympathetic mode. You can do this all at night while you’re sleeping.
Tip 4: Utilize the power of smells.
You don’t need fancy essential oils. Simply get a small pot of water and add orange peels, apple peels, lemon peels (whatever you’re baking with). You can actually put peels in the freezer as you’re baking, then when you’re ready, add cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and cloves. Simmer on a very low flame. Keep an eye on the pot, and let the aromas fill the air. Your brain will actually release endorphins and other calming chemicals in response to these beautiful fragrances.
Tip 5: Practice gratitude.
What are you thankful for? Are there things that you’re taking for granted? Take time to reflect on the good things in your life. It can be as simple as breath. Being able to take a deep breath. You can also practice gratitude for the things that are difficult in your life, recognizing their purpose and value for your journey.
Keeping a gratitude journal is something most talk about, but don’t often do. Write down the things that you’re thankful for this year, and things you’re looking forward to next year. Another idea is to start a gratitude jar and fill it throughout the upcoming year with happy memories and things to be thankful for. Reminding yourself of the good in your life can do so much for relieving stress and recentering your focus on the things that matter most to you.
I hope these tips help you during this holiday season and beyond.