Avoid A Hectic Holiday With These 10 Ways to Zap Stress

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Photo: Stuart Tyson

This is a feature that appeared in our December issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to InStyle now.

It takes a lot of hard work to make the holidays as exciting as they always are. So, to get you through the next month, we put together ten style schemes and shopping solutions to keep you stress-free. Because we not only want you to enjoy the festivities, but we want it to be smooth sailing every step of the way—from the second you hit the stores (we’ve got you covered whether you choose to shop brick-and-mortar style or take a brick-and-click approach) all the way down to getting ready for a holiday party.

Scroll through the gallery where you’ll find tips on how to steer clear of marathon shopping sessions, beauty tricks for when you’re in a hurry, the low-cal snack that will lift your spirits, and more!

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01 of 10

1. Go On A Blue Streak

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Startraks Photo; WireImage

We’re not talking about endless, nonstop rambling but rather an enlivening swipe of liner along your upper or lower lashes. “Think of it as a double shot of espresso for your eyes,” says makeup pro Joanna Simkin. If your skin is fair or medium, try a sky blue, like Taylor Swift’s. If it’s olive or dark, a turquoise like the one worn by Kelly Rowland will perk up even the most tired peepers.

02 of 10

2. Enlist an Elf

Zap Holiday Stress
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Santa doesn’t do it all on his own, so why should you? Go to Taskrabbit.com to hire someone to help with the holiday chores—whether it’s wrapping gifts or waiting in line for a coveted gold iPhone. Describe the task, set a price (or request bids), and you’ll be put in touch with an ally in your area.

03 of 10

3. Click Your Way to Gorgeous

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Stuart Tyson

Sneak in a last-minute salon appointment between marathon shopping sessions with your smartphone. Enter a city into the Style Seat app to connect with hair, makeup, and nail pros near you. Beautified is another solid app that lets you book same-day appointments at select N.Y.C., L.A., San Francisco, and D.C. hair and makeup hot spots.

04 of 10

4. Take a Whiff

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Stuart Tyson (2)

Here’s a cool way to prevent party jitters: painting on lavender-scented nail polish. “Aromas such as lavender or green apple can actually help lower your heart rate and blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed,” says Alan Hirsch, director of Chicago’s Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. Peppermint, on the other hand, increases tension, so lay off the candy canes.

05 of 10

5. Keep an E- (as in Easy) File

Zap Holiday Stress
Tetra Images/Getty Images

What’s even more annoying than searching for a dropped earring back? Scavenging around for zip codes when you’re addressing holiday cards. Save yourself the time and energy by downloading the free version of the Evernote app (available for iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, and Windows phones). Send a mass email to your friends and family requesting their home addresses, and Evernote will store them in a single place. It also syncs the info across all your devices, so on days when both your iPad and smartphone are running low on fuel, you’ll be able to find the addresses on your desktop instead.

06 of 10

6. Skip the Blowout

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Stuart Tyson

Want salon-worthy hair in the time it takes to brush your teeth? Check out Pureology’s new Fresh Approach dry shampoo and conditioner. Unlike a lot of talc-based products, which leave you with telltale white residue—not to mention drablooking strands—these mineral-based formulas are super-lightweight, so you can use them two, three, even four days in a row. (OK, that last one’s pushing it.)

07 of 10

7. Commit to a One-Stop Shop

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Neil Beckerman/Getty Images

Running around a crowded mall is a recipe for stress, not to mention sore feet. So zero in on just one department store—say, Nordstrom or Macy’s—to purchase the majority of your gifts. “Create a list of what you want to get, and take it with you,” says Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management from the Inside Out. If the thought of traveling to even one store has you reaching for a Xanax, try the online retailer Giftlab.com, which offers a meticulously curated selection of merchandise, everything from Cire Trudon candles and Missoni Home throws to Anya Hindmarch bags and Mr. Boddington’s Studio stationery.

08 of 10

8. Make It a Quickie

Zap Holiday Stress
Getty Images

So long, lengthy treadmill slogs! A new study in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health amp Fitness Journal finds that three circuits of a seven-minute, high-intensity workout can provide the same (or better) fat-burning and cardiovascular benefits as a 45-minute, moderate-intensity workout. Check out the moves at 7-min.com, or for something more hardcore, work out to the T25 DVD (the routine takes—you got it—25 minutes).

09 of 10

9. Cuff It Up

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Stuart Tyson; WireImage

If your favorite long-sleeve LBD feels too blah for fab festivities, Holmes amp Yang co-designer Jeanne Yang offers this simple trick: Layer two chunky, matching cuffs over each wrist (yes, on top of the fabric). “Even an inexpensive dress will look like an embellished designer gown,” says Yang.

10 of 10

10. Snack Happy

10 Ways to Zap Holiday Stress
Stuart Tyson

Got a bad case of the winter blues? Grab a handful of popcorn (without added butter) and cheer up. “Popcorn is the perfect munchie because it’s rich in carbohydrates—the good kind—which increase serotonin levels and boost your mood,” says nutritionist Christine Avanti. Try Skinny Pop ($4/4.4 oz.; skinnypop .com for stores): Made from natural ingredients, it’s only 39 calories per cup.

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