Feeling tense? Here are 4 ways to combat holiday stress this season
You’ve got halls to deck, cookies to bake, presents to buy, lights to untangle and parties to plan. Oh, and your in-laws might be showing up unannounced at any given moment and cue the email requests for volunteers in three, two, one …
But, most importantly (and put this at the top of your to-do list), you’ve got the holidays to enjoy with your family and friends.
Don’t let the most wonderful time of the year become the most stressful time of year. These stress-busting tips and products will help you keep your cool throughout the holiday season.
Take a whiff of peppermint
The aroma of peppermint is proven to lower feelings of anxiety (and fatigue!). Consider it a lucky coincidence that peppermint happens to be one of the most popular scents of the holiday season. Researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University proved the stress-reducing effects of peppermint in a study funded by NASA. The scientists simulated stressful driving scenarios, monitored the subjects’ emotions and found that peppermint lowered feelings of anxiety and fatigue by 20 percent. When you’re chipping away at your to-do list, try lighting a peppermint-scented candle, like the Twisted Peppermint three-wick candle, $22.50 from Bath and Body Works. It burns up to 45 hours.
Keep a gratitude journal
Don’t stop being thankful after Thanksgiving. This time of year, we’re constantly thinking of things that need to get done. Try journaling what you’ve accomplished and what you’re thankful for to keep everything in perspective. Take time to unplug (put your phone on the “Do not Disturb” setting and power down your tablet and computer), and write in a journal. Keep a pretty notebook on your nightstand, like this gold foil dot Kate Spade spiral notebook, $14, from Nordstrom, $14.
Pencil in your gym appointment
There are so many good reasons to exercise during the holiday season. Regular exercise can boost your immune system helping you fend off cold and flu season, and, well, need we mention the excess candy and cookies in the office this time of year? Another important perk: Exercise can improve your mood for up to 12 hours following activity, according to a study from the American College of Sports Medicine. Consider those endorphins your holiday elves keeping you in a cheerful spirit. To make sure you follow through on your good intentions to work out, schedule it in your planner just like you would any other important appointment. We like to keep some home workout videos on hand in case the roads are too icy to hit the gym or we want to squeeze in an extra-credit workout. One of our faves? The Biggest Loser 8 minute Body Blasters, $8.79, from Walmart. The high-intensity workouts help sculpt your butt, abs, arms and legs.
Make your list, stay within a budget
Are you starting to build your nice list? Avoid the stress of over-spending by setting a budget for how much you’re going to shell out on gifts this holiday season. Try the “Gift It” app, a free download for Apple at the iTunes store, to help you manage your lists and stay on track with your budget. It’s password protected so your kids won’t be able to see what’s on the shopping list when they ask to borrow your phone to play games.