6 Ways To De-Stress During the Holidays
While it may be the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays are also a major source of stress for a lot of people. Be it buying gifts, traveling near and far, and spending time with family, pretty much everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Hanukkah has the potential to be stressful, so it's normal to feel a little on edge right now. Trust us, we are right there with you.
So, it got us thinking: how can we best manage all the stress this time of year brings? Everyone copes with it in different ways, but there seem to be a few tricks that are quite common (hello, meditation!). There are also a few methods to battle stress that you may not have thought of (one of them involves petting dogs; you can thank us later).
We came up with 6 different approaches to coping with stress that are sure to make the holiday season a little bit easier. Read on to see some of the best activities to get you through to the new year.
VIDEO: How to Kick Stress in 20 Minutes or Less
In stressful times, making to-do lists can really be a game changer. A lot of stress around the holidays comes from feeling unorganized, so simply outlining everything you need to get done can make you feel like you have things more under control. Plus, it feels so good each time you cross something off. If Santa makes a list every year, you should too.
HIT THE GYM
Exercise and endorphins go hand in hand, so it goes without saying that working out has the power to make you feel happier while helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Whether you head to the gym, take a class at your favorite studio, or simply go for a run outside, getting your heart rate up is sure to have you feeling less stressed than you were before.
HAVE A SPA DAY
If you like to 'treat yo self,' then the holidays are the perfect time to head to the spa. Whether it's a facial, massage, or aromatherapy session, everyone knows that one of the best ways to relax is to take some "me time" at the spa. And if that's not quite in your budget, no big! Create your own spa day at home! Slap on a sheet mask, light some candles, and have a soak in the tub—the possibilities are endless.
VOLUNTEER AT AN ANIMAL SHELTER
It's been proven that hanging with a pet can make you feel better. Seriously, universities around the country have started bringing in therapy dogs to help students cope with stress during finals, and the number of airports employing dogs to keep anxious travelers at ease is ever increasing. So, why not spend some time with the pooches (and cats, if you fancy) at your local animal shelter. We guarantee it'll make you feel better—especially because you're giving back to animals in need. Win-win.
PICK UP SOME ESSENTIAL OILS
You’re going to want to stock up on essential oils after reading this. Whether you apply them topically or use them in a diffuser (Gwyneth Paltrow is obsessed with the one above, $119, nordstrom.com), essential oils have the amazing ability to aid in stress relief. We suggest bergamot oil, which is a relaxant and can reduce nervous tension; peppermint oil, which can improve circulation and relax tense muscles; or lavender, which helps with sleeplessness and calms the body and mind.
The benefits of meditation are seemingly endless. According to Unplug Meditation, practicing meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and sensitivity to pain, as well as to improve memory, productivity, and mood, and it can even help you to sleep better. You can take a guided class or do it in your own home (one staffer recently tried out an app), so all you really need to do is find some time in your day to do it.