As much as it pains us to admit it, the holidays and stress go hand-in-hand. Between Thanksgiving feasts, late-night festivities and endless gift shopping, the weeks ahead promise to leave us worn thin and frazzled at best. So how are we to relax this holiday season and survive through the New Year? By taking time to slow down and focus inward. But if you think it’s selfish to take a moment just for you, then stop right there. Allotting time to power down and add a dose of peace and comfort allows for a clearer head and happier heart – two essentials that make for a more patient and understanding mom. Ready to steel yourself against the impending chaos of the holiday season? Get started with these four natural and health-minded moves to relax this holiday season:
Work it: It seems counterintuitive to prescribe a heart-thumping workout as a way of bringing about calm. But time and time again, the best research has shown that there’s nothing like a good sweat fest to set your endorphins on high and get happiness flowing. If you can, bring your exercise outside. Even a brisk walk in chilly weather can do a body and soul good.
Say “omm”: Carve out a few minutes each day to slowly build a meditation practice. Five uninterrupted minutes and a quiet space are all you need to take in the healing and restorative benefits of meditation. Sit in a comfortable chair, set a timer and close your eyes. Until your buzzer rings, spend your time focusing on your breath: inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Need a guided meditation or a step toward a more advanced practice? Download an app for your phone or head to YouTube’s seemingly endless array of guided practices.
Hands on: Massage, acupuncture or acupressure – whatever your pleasure, know this: For thousands of years, people have turned to touch for comfort, healing and peace. If you’re on a budget this season, you can still enjoy the many benefits of touch therapy. Trade massages with a partner, working in calming essential oils for an added soothing benefit. Search your neighborhood for massage schools or natural healing clinics open to the public. Many offer services on a sliding scale or community rates, providing services in a large setting so as to keep costs low.
Retreat to the bath: When you want to find an oasis of calm without leaving home, head to your very own bathtub. Fill it high with bubbles or a sumptuous and soothing oil like rose, chamomile or ylang ylang. Dim the lights and spark the candles. Slather your hair in a hydrating mask (equal parts coconut oil and honey will do) and smooth a moisturizing combo of one banana and 1 tablespoon of raw honey on your skin for a rejuvenating and extra hydrating treat.
Give thanks: When stress does its best to beat us down, a simple way to bounce back is to focus on gratitude. Take a few moments at the end of each day to jot down a thought or two. What are you grateful for? From a stranger returning your lost keys to a friend popping by out of the blue, these moments add up to a meaningful and pretty powerful stress zapper.
Ready to relax your way to Zen? Share with us your favorite stress-busting moves in the comments below.