How to let go of stress during the holidays

During the holidays we have too many things to accomplish. For example, I have been working seven days a week, eight to twelve hours a day at my day job. People don’t show up, they get sick, so I take up the slack for my boss. In doing that, I lose my daily work -life balance. Along with decorating for the various holidays and shopping for presents, going to christmas parties, having your children at home for the break , we get OVERWHELMED! We forget to breath and take care of ourselves. Driving in horrible traffic, bad weather, crowded malls, paying our bills, finding extra money to give gifts for christmas, it takes a toll on the human body. We must take time for ourselves to destress, unwind. Even if for a few moments an hour. I hear from others “I dont have time to meditate!” ” I dont know how to meditate”. “I cant relax! I have too much to do!” Yes its true, there are only so many hours in a day to accomplish our goals for the day, but with some creativity we can let some stress go throughout the day. Let’s look at some ways to relax, to meditate, to let go…….

Eat good food
photo by Calum Lewis

1) Take the time to nourish your body with good, wholesome food. Grocery stores these days have specialty foods premade for us to save precious time. I have seen vegetarian dishes made with organic ingredients that look delicious! There are subscription food sites that you can utilize. There are Trader Joe’s grocery stores that have really nice premade meals as do Whole foods grocery stores. There are many new take out delivery sites such as Bite squad, Uber eats, to order exceptional wholesome foods around your local area, if you dont have time to cook at home!

2) Take time to breathe!

Photo by Fabian Moller

When we are stressed out, we forget to breathe. Right now, in this moment, breathe in deeply, hold for four seconds, and then let the breath out through your mouth for 4 seconds. Feel your shoulders drop, feel all your problems leave with your outgoing breath. Do this four times in a row. Breathe when in traffic to alleviate the stress of bad drivers. Take deep breaths when shopping or standing in the long lines. I shop online mostly or I give cash as presents to save myself some hassle and stress. You can do deep breathing at your desk at work. Just focus on counting and taking in the breath. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, let breath out for 4.

3) Get a massage

You can find great deals on Groupon for massages. Or you can go to a massage school for more of a discount. If you cant get a massage… try a self guided body relaxation exercise. Focus on your toes~ scrunch them up then relax, focus on your feet, roll and lift your feet then relax them. Focus on your calves, tighten them then relax them, focus on your butt, tighten it then relax it. Focus on your stomach,pull it in then relax, focus on your shoulders and arms, shrug your shoulders up to your ears then relax. Focus on your face scrunch it up, then relax it. 

4)Use essential oils to relax

Essential oils placed in a diffuser can deeply relax your body, mind, and soul. Each specific oil has it’s own special properties of healing. Some such as sandalwood are woodsy, clearing, helpful in meditation and clearing the energy body, antiseptic,sedative, memory booster, anti inflammatory,expectorant, and anti viral. Its best to just open the cap of the oil and take a whiff for a few minutes if you dont have a diffuser.With pure essential oils be careful about putting on the skin,as some oils are meant to be put into a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil before putting on your skin. Lavender essential oil is a lovely oil for relaxing and sleep. Ylang ylang eo is very relaxing too. Another good one is Clary Sage oil. 

5) Go for a walk. Walking helps us to unwind our mental state and get some needed exercise too. I live near the Potomac river so sometimes I go to the C&O canal and walk and take pictures. I always come back refreshed. If its winter and too cold, go to a mall and walk around. It always helps me to go to the mall at off peak hours. Many people walk at the mall. Wear proper walking shoes.

6)Have a cup of green tea and Turn off your cell phone! Get some good green tea.

Green tea is a great way to relax and be in the moment. Make a ritual of it. Dont share it. It’s all yours, your special moment to be at one with yourself. Turn on some relaxing music, and make a healthful cup of tea, it has polyphenols in it that are anti inflammatory and anti carcinogenic. Good green tea enhances your brain function, fat loss and lowers your risk of cancer.

7) Turn off your phone and computer for a while. Disconnecting for a short while will reboot you. We get so stressed out and then our wrist and hands hurt from being on our phones and swiping all day. Or you are on the computer at work all day. Our backs are hurting, our brains are overloaded with useless information.   

8) Get up and stretch

You dont have to be a yogi to stretch. There are many things that we learned in school that we can do to relax.

By Timothy Krause (Stretching) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


9)Listen to Binaural beats and isochronic tones


10) There are many things to do to relax, only hindered by your imagination. Use your imagination, create art, do needlecraft, paint, sculpt, sing, dance! Whatever you do to relax, its up to you! You Will feel better after you relax, your friends and family will notice it too. Play with a pet! Petting an animal is the best relaxation of all.




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