The Holidays can be a very exciting time with prospects of spending time with friends and family that we may not have seen in a while. As exciting as this opportunity may be, it can also cause a great deal of stress. Don’t get me wrong, a little bit of stress is normal and stress affects everyone. However “Holiday Stress” disproportionately affects women. Some experts say that women are up to 44% more likely to feel their level of stress increase during the Holiday Season versus 31% of men. Women typically take on greater family responsibilities during the Holiday Season, as some of us have a harder time relaxing with all the additional tasks that are required to prepare for family celebrations, such as shopping, cooking, and cleaning.”
Given this data it’s important to learn positive coping methods. We often talk about stress and feeling stressed out, but tend to think of it as an emotional state, rather than something that can take a physical toll on the bodies leading to diseases such as cancer, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, anxiety, and depression. No worries. Let’s take a deep breath, inhale hold for 3 secs and exhale slowly, and remember there are tools we can utilize to help minimize our stress. Take a look at the list below:
1. Take a Brief Walks and Exercise
Exercise has a variety of benefits – it gets you outside in nature, where we as humans naturally feel more relaxed; it gets our blood pumping; and it takes out minds off things. Exercise is one of the best, natural ways to release stress. Go for a walk, go on a bike ride, or hit the gym.
2. Deep Breathing and Meditation.
When we feel stressed, our breathing is likely to become more shallow. We can try to pushing our bellies out and practice “belly breathing” each time we inhale. We can also try meditation, which may seem a little weird at first, but it’s proven to be one of the best stress busters and can even ward off anxiety and depression. New to meditation? Try listening to a 10 minute guided meditation on Youtube or Soundcloud
Throughout history, scented and oils such as Lavender and vanilla have been used to aid in the reduction of stress, anxiety and the feeling of overall well being. Try lighting some candles, burning incense, or oil in a diffuser, or boiling a pot of natural potpourri.
4. Take a Long Bath or Shower
Adding Himalayan Salt to our bath water has many benefit some of which include, aiding in detoxifying our bodies from the toxins from the polluted air we breath, chemicals and pesticides in our food, water, heavy metals, and used in our personal care products. It also softens the skin and helps to keep it supple. A warm shower will help to relieve tension, relieve aching muscles, and the steam will help clear congestion .
5. Drink Tea
Chamomile Tea has been know to ease upset stomach and aid in sleep, and relaxation, and calm muscle spasms. It is also a natural antibacterial. Green tea has amazing health benefits and has naturally calming, de-stressing properties, as it is choc full of antioxidants, aids in fat burning, reducing inflammation, Also try lemon balm, peppermint, and fennel tea which are great at reducing stress.
6. Laugh Often
Humor Therapy, is the use of humor to promote overall health and wellness. It aims to use the natural physiological process of laughter to help relieve physical or emotional stresses or discomfort. Talk or text with a friend or family member that has a great sense of humor, and is always able to make us laugh, play with your dog, watch a comedy or some funny youtube videos. Your stress levels will thank you, and you’ll be feeling great with all of those endorphins released when you laugh.
7. Hug and Cuddle
Human touch is a powerful thing. Not only does it feel great, but it also helps to relieve stress by releasing Oxytocin in the brain, which is the “feel good” chemical that our bodies produce to cause us to bond with one another, and gives us the overall sense of well being. Don’t be afraid to add an extra few seconds when hugging friends and family.
8. Take a Nap
15-20 minute power naps not only help us to feel less stressed, they also help us achieve the feeling of having a clear mind being alert, and refreshed . As an added bonus, those of us who take naps reportedly live longer. Lets get our Naps On!
9. Have an Orgasm
Sex is one of the best ways to release stress during the holiday season. Whether you have sex with a partner or go at it alone, having an orgasm could be the best thing for you to keep the stress at bay. During orgasm our bodies release the “love hormone”, Oxytocin. It helps to create intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships. It’s released by men and women during orgasm, and by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding.
10. Turn off our Phones and Electronic Devices
With deadlines, work, politics and posts from friends on Social Media platforms, it can be a little overwhelming. Having all of these things barking at us at the back of our minds is never a good thing. It may be hard, but it’s best to power off that phone and shut down our computers in order to reduce the risk of getting sucked into the stress.
Remember the Holidays should be about love and spending time with people we love. Let’s not worry about whether the house is perfectly clean, whether we have the perfect presents for our friends and family, and about other trivial things. The main point of the Holiday season is to come together with people who we love. In the words of Dalai Lama XIV: ““If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” Stop worrying and start enjoying the holiday season!