5 easy ways to beat stress during the holiday season
By Brittany Anas
And on the 12th day of Christmas, the holiday season gave to you … a big stress-induced headache? Between the family members coming into visit, that classroom party you volunteered to organize at your kid’s school, decking the halls and shopping for everybody’s gifts — the holidays can stretch you thin. But, remember, this is suppose to be fun — so hold up your right hand, toast your eggnog and swear that you won’t let the holiday-season stress grinch attack this year.
A secret to avoiding stress is having a plan. So while we’re still weeks away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas, now is a good time to draw up a plan that is easy to stick to during the holiday season.
- Budget your money and your time. Determine how much you’ll spend and go into the shopping season with a well-planned out budget. Don’t forget extra expenses in December — like budgeting for that holiday dinner you’re hosting, spending more than usual on dry cleaning after company parties and maybe even an extra tank of gas because you’re driving to visit relatives. Same goes for your time. Prioritize what’s important. Be discerning when it comes to volunteering — if you told the Homeowner’s Association you’d help decorate the neighborhood, reconsider whether you should be on the party-planning committee at your office.
- Start looking and listening for gift cues. It’s stressful when the shopping days are ticking down and you can’t come up with gift ideas. Carry a notepad with you and start taking note of what those on your shopping list (especially those hard to shop for types) might like. Maybe you’ll notice that your mother-in-law is drawn to sterling silver jewelry or that one of your friends enjoys manicures from a local salon.
- Shop from home. Avoid the hustle and bustle of the malls and shop from the comfort of your home using ShopAtHome.com. You’ll get Cash Back from hundreds of your favorite retailers and once you hit $20, you’ll get a check in the mail. (Hey, put that towards a stress-relieving massage).
- Don’t just leave a glass of milk for Santa. After a stressful day, try drinking a warm glass of milk before you head to bed. A protein found in milk — known as lactium — lowers blood pressure and reduces the release of stress hormones. Maybe that’s how the jolly guy stays calm while delivering presents all night long?
- Stop and smell the … lemons. Or lavender. Or mango. A study out of Japan in 2009 showed that breathing in certain fragrances alter your gene activity and blood chemistry to ultimately lower stress, according to an article in Science Daily. So instead of burning that gingerbread candle during the holidays, maybe try a Lemon Mint Leaf one from Bath and Body Works, where you can earn Cash Back on your purchases from ShopAtHome.com. Like mango better? Try this candle with a pineapple-mango blend. (Read more articles about Bath and Body Works here).
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