Lessons to De-Stress…


Another holiday season is coming soon and if you are like most people, you are looking for ways to reduce your stress and find more balance as you move into the Holiday Season. Some of the best tips for learning to do that can be taken from the craziest time of year, which is usually the holidays, and it is easier to learn these lessons now, since the experience is still fresh in your mind. Here are some ways you can use lessons from the hectic holidays to de-stress your life.




Last year’s resolution to be more mindful, balanced and calm is by now a way of life (yay, you!). Now that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas though, the inner peace you’ve managed to maintain is threatening to disappear. “We feel compelled to create special holiday memories, so we pour energy into presents, decorations and all the festive activities,” explains Lisa Bobby, Ph.D., a family therapist in Denver. “Our high expectations often create anxiety and disappointment.” Unsurprisingly, women are a third more likely than men to see their stress skyrocket during the holidays, a survey from the American Psychological Association finds, probably because we try to make everything perfect. (No wonder you’re feeling more Grinch than gung ho!) Don’t let angst rain on your Macy’s parade, though; this guide will empower you to let go of the most common sources of seasonal stress, so you’ll feel calm, bright—and merrily in the moment.

Multiply Your Minutes…


With all the shopping, cooking, traveling and decking of halls, the holidays can seem like a nonstop job. You’re not alone in the race against the clock: In the APA survey, feeling pressed for time was the most-cited source of stress during gingerbread season. Until elves can manufacture a 25th hour in the day, use these shortcuts to streamline the most common holiday time-sucks

The Problem: Parties leave you feeling drained.


The stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can feel like a marathon (that is, if running one involves an abundance of frosted cookies and eggnog). And that low-grade, long-term stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system, immunity and mental health, says Susan Blum, M.D., founder and director of the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, N.Y. A well-timed pause between feats will help you stay calm. Instead of looking at the holidays as a six-week blur, schedule free days between events and stick to your normal routine as much as possible, Blum recommends. Your usual self-care, like Pilates class and your weekly date with The Good Wife, will lend you “the resiliency to weather all the storms that come with this time of year,” she says. And be selective about your RSVPs. “You want to feel as excited about a holiday party as you do when the food is served at a restaurant you’ve been really excited to try,” says Holly Lucille, N.D., a naturopath in Los Angeles. Not feeling it when you open the invite? Put your needs first by sending your regrets and going to yoga instead. The hosts won’t mind as much as you think they will. Try your best not to schedule commitments more than two nights in a row, Lucille adds: Taking a day off between parties can help you savor the celebrations you do attend.

The Problem: Holiday Travel is the Worst.


A zen attitude won’t un-delay your flight or move traffic (if only!), but it will make an interminable wait slip by a bit faster, says Katje Wagner, Ph.D., a holistic psychotherapist in Portland, Ore. Before hitting the road, think of what you most love about the season and choose a subtle movement to link with that feeling, then do it whenever delays threaten to push your blood pressure to 30,000 feet, Wagner recommends. If you relish how the holidays connect your clan, for example, you could interlace your fingers and squeeze your hands; if you appreciate the quiet power of the whole congregation singing “Silent Night,” try pressing a palm to your throat. Practicing the movement when the airline suspends your flight will redirect your attention from an obstacle (just how long does it take to de-ice a plane?!) to the true meaning of the holiday, Wagner says.

Finally, look at the folks around you and imagine their hopes for the holidays—say, a mom with her infant visiting family for Baby’s first Thanksgiving, or a young couple sharing earbuds who might announce their engagement at Christmas dinner. The empathy this practice fosters makes you feel like you’re part of something larger and more meaningful than just a frantic dash from here to there, says Camille Maurine, author of Meditation Secrets for Women.

The Problem: A Boatload of Unfinished DIY Gifts.


Instead of knitting a scarf for everyone on your list, go semi-handmade. For example, take plain store-bought scarves and twist two together—sewing the loose ends to close the loop—to make a stylish (and one-of-a-kind) infinity scarf. “Even if you only do one part of the present yourself, it still makes the gift more special,” says Brittni Mehlhoff, founder of crafting blog Paper & Stitch. You can also treat your usual gatherings as opportunities to make batch presents—your supper club can order takeout and use the time to eat, chat and scoop bath salts into pretty jars. Crafty!”

Share below some of your de-stress tips?

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