Even though the holiday season can be a wonderful, happy time that we look forward to and enjoy, it can also be an incredibly busy and sometimes stressful time of year. Traveling to visit family and friends, shopping for the perfect gifts, baking and cooking, decorating and cleaning—it can occasionally get a little overwhelming. What can you do to bring some peace and sanity back into the hectic holiday life you may be leading from November through the year.Take a much-deserved break every now and then, even if it’s for just 5 or 10 minutes!
- Step outside for a breath of fresh air or a short stroll around the block.
- Take a power nap, even if it’s only 10 or 20 minutes long.
- Meditate to calm your mind and body. Fragrant Heart has a selection of free, guided meditations for stress relief that you can try—some as short as just 1 minute in length!
- Do some gentle stretches to help reduce the tension in your body. HelpGuide.Org has a list of simple stretching techniques that may help you unwind.
- Make some music. If you don’t play an instrument, turn on the radio and sing! Or simply sit back and listen to your favourite song.
- Make an effort to relax your jaw, which is a spot where many people unknowingly carry stress.1 Release this tension by opening your mouth wide for about 30 seconds, breathing normally through your nose, then closing your mouth slowly and gently.
- Take a moment to think about three things you’re grateful for. Write them down in a journal.
- Do something silly and fun. Dance like no one is watching, make funny faces in the mirror, watch cartoons or grab a partner and play a short game of cards.
- Try some deep breathing exercises, like the abdominal breathing technique described on PsychCentral, to flood your body with much-needed oxygen and stimulate a relaxation response.
- Look out the window. A five-minute break spent watching the world go by is a nice, quiet way to distract yourself from your day-to-day busyness.
- Try a brain game, like a crossword puzzle or sudoku. Focusing on a fun challenge for a few minutes is a great reward for a stressed-out noggin.
- Do something creative, like writing a holiday haiku poem, knitting a few rows of a scarf, or mixing up a batch of icebox cookies to bake later.
Remember to take good care of yourself during the holiday season. Eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep and making an effort to take short breaks throughout the day can help you get the most out of this wonderful time of year.
For more information on how to change your response to stress, including tips for simple ways to relax, visit HelpGuide.Org.
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