Happy holidays! The season is in full swing and while that means a lot of great things like family gatherings, holiday parties, tasty meals and shopping, it can also mean lots of stress. Blah! I don’t know about you, but doesn’t it seem that every year it’s the same reoccurring pattern? We get extra stressed, worked up and overloaded during the holiday season…and I’m certainly no exception to that reality. When do we finally say enough is ENOUGH to that extra unwanted holiday stress that’s weighing us down?
This month on “Your Health” we share some great ways to de-stress during the holidays and take a trip to the Boulders Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona to learn why it’s so important to keep your stress levels at bay. Spa Manager, Parker Fales, shares some great tips (and very unique spa services) to help you de-stress. Sign me up! 🙂
Another practical way to dodge holiday stress: Take a time-out. From mediation to even sipping on some hot tea, giving yourself a little break to unwind will give your brain a short vacay and help you savor the season. Research has actually found that regularly drinking green tea can help beat stress and improve psychological wellbeing. So this season, skip the coffee and go for the green tea, instead!
Crank Up the Holiday Music
I LOVE holiday music and nothing makes you feel more merry and bright faster than listening to seasonal songs. If festive music just isn’t your thing, that’s ok, too! The great news is research shows that listening to music in general can bring down stress hormones and lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Or, you can just do what I do and have your dog participate in a Christmas singalong to bring on some holiday cheer! As you can see, and hear, my dog Buddy definitely enjoyed creating our joyful moment together…he’s such a natural. 😉
Open the Shades
According to a recent study, gazing out into nature lowers your heart rate, even when you have to deal with stress-inducing situations. Some great ways to bring the serenity of the outdoors into your home is to incorporate natural elements into your decor. For example, replace the plastic wreath with a real one or layer scented pinecones in a glass vase for a quick and easy centerpiece. So open the curtains, let that natural sunlight in and take a look outside. You might just be inspired by what you see.
Scrub for the Holiday Win!
Making homemade gifts can be super rewarding, both for the recipient as well as the gift-giver. It allows you to create in the comfort of your own home, while also being more aware of the ingredients you are using. If you remember last month’s blog post and my interview with Strawberry Hedgehog, being cognizant of the ingredients in your body products can make a difference in your overall health.
Here’s one of my favorite DIY sugar scrub recipes – enjoy, and relax!
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 15-20 drops essential oil
- Mason jar
1. Mix together 1 cup coconut oil and 2 cups granulated sugar in a bowl until a grainy paste forms. You can add more sugar or oil depending on how thick you want it to be. This will make enough to fill a 2-cup Mason jar.
2. Add 15-20 drops of your choice of essential oil. A few of my favorites are lavender (relaxing) and peppermint (cooling and refreshing.) Depending on how strong the scent of the oil is, you can add a little more or less.
3. Scoop contents into a Mason jar. If you’re going to give as a gift, you can tie twine around the rim and add a label or pretty piece of paper.
Have a Heart of Gratitude
It’s so easy to get completely overwhelmed with all of the obligations and demands of the holiday season. One of the best ways to refocus is to look outside yourself, and see others. For example, the holidays can be an especially difficult time for deployed military members to be away from their family. Operation Gratitude is an organization that’s on a mission to thank every American that serves and volunteers can write letters of appreciation year-round to send to troops, first responders and veterans. A great way to say THANK YOU!
The journey of life can at times feel like it’s stuck in fast forward (especially during the holidays.) But reflection and gratitude are simple ways to slow down the pace.
Wishing you a joy-filled and less stressful holiday season, my friend.
Be good to yourself, and others!
Erica Cardenas (@ericacardenas1)