Quick Tricks To Stay Stress-Free This Holiday SeasonPosted: December 11, 2014
The Ikea-like crowds in non-Ikea stores. The food-heavy parties that start making it easy for your stomach to match Santa’s. The money tree that sometimes feels like it’s shedding its needles a little too quickly. Whew, sometimes the holidays can put you in a place where you’re not feeling too great. Luckily, you needn’t necessarily let the season take you there.
Instead, we’ve got a few tricks below that you can carry out in fewer minutes than it’ll take to get through the checkout line. And they’ll make the whole experience seem not so bad, either.
Below, five quick tricks for keeping away those holiday stress tears so you can ring in that holiday cheer instead!
1. Sniff on this: Recent research out of Tel Aviv University shows that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. Either squeeze a spritz of lemon or orange, or dab a little of their essential oil on a handkerchief, and carry it with you in your purse or pocket. The next time you’re stuck standing in a line or feeling anxious, pull it out and give it a sniff!
2. Treat yourself to a massage, anywhere: When you’re feeling the holiday pressure, call upon your pressure points to relieve that feeling. The area between your index finger and thumb has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for alleviating stress. Use the thumb and index finger of your right hand to massage this pressure point area on your left hand. Give it a squeeze for 30-60 seconds, and take a few breathes as you do.
3. Stay hydrated, stay happy: Studies show even mild dehydration can influence our mood and energy levels. Another common symptom of dehydration is headaches, which are never conducive for stressful situations. Whether headed out or simply decorating around the house, keep a water bottle by your side and be sure to take a few sips every hour, even if you’re not particularly thirsty. Experts say waiting until your thirst tells you to hydrate is often too late.
4. TUNE-in: Often when our minds are racing all around, that’s when the stress creeps in. Instead, start your day off with a a to-do list, and then keep a single point of focus as you move from one activity to the next. This will enable you to be more at ease with each task and able to remain in the present moment as you carry it out. Bonus: Plug in your headphones and turn on your favorite tunes at the first sign when your mind starts to drift in too many different directions. A study from the University of MD found that hearing your favorite tunes can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, which will not only calm your nerves, but boost your energy, too.
5. Power up the positivity: One of this quickest and simplest ways to send stress running in the other direction is to change your mindset. Make a practice with yourself — as soon as a negative thought enters your mind, see if you can reverse it with a positive one instead. Add the practice of smiling to your to-do list, too. Research shows that a smile, even one that’s forced, can make you feel happier and physically decrease your stress levels.