What do you want to remember about this year’s holiday season? Probably not how stressed you feel about all there is to do and buy. We want to help keep your spirits up so you can focus on what matters most: family, friends, and the memories you create together. That’s why we’re sharing some tips on lowering your stress levels and keeping your holiday memories purely joyous!
1. Go for a walk in the sunshine. The rhythm of walking calms the brain and improves sleep. Who knew? Daytime strolls are particularly effective because the sun relieves symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. If the sun is rare where you live in the wintertime, take advantage of every day it does show its face. Sounds like it’s time to go outside!
2. Make a soothing spot. Find a place—your bedroom, your deck, or even a corner of your desk—and dedicate it to calm. Keep any stress-inducing items far away! Instead, hang up beautiful artwork you’ve made, pictures of those you love, or even paint the wall your favorite color. Cool colors like blue and green are especially good at telling your brain to relax.
3. Use a planner! There are many benefits to organizing your time, which is one of the many reasons we created our Everyday Life™ planner system. Writing down reminders like grocery lists saves your brain the work of remembering the information. Creating a schedule also helps you feel in control of your life, which reduces your anxiety. Be proactive by ordering our planner system for next year. You’ll experience peace of mind knowing you’re all ready for 2016 to begin!
4. Ditch technology for a while. While it’s true that laptops and iPhones can make life easier, it’s also a good idea to occasionally take breaks from them. Why? So your adrenaline can stop racing from all the noises and alerts of your electronic devices. Lower adrenaline equals lower stress. Besides, it’s always amazing how much more time you have to complete your to-do list when you turn off the television and step away from the computer.
5. Combine holiday preparations with socializing. If you’ve gotta do something, why not do it with people you love? Social people are less likely to catch colds and more likely to catch good sleep. Have your friends over to wrap presents, make cards and decorations, and (of course) scrapbook your holiday memories!
6. Laugh! You always hear that laughter is the best medicine, but do you know why? There are actually physiological reasons why laughter is so great for your health. In some studies, laughter appeared to reduce stress hormones, pain, and blood sugar levels. So go ahead: Pull out your scrapbook album with last Halloween’s funny pictures, take funny photos with your kids or grandkids, or make a silly card. You deserve a good giggle!
7. Hold hands with a loved one. The emotional benefits of being close to someone you care about are reason enough. Plus, traditional Chinese medicine teaches us that applying pressure to the fleshy place between your thumb and index finger can release tension in your upper body. Cool, huh?
8. Reward yourself! In all your holiday shopping, don’t forget to get yourself something every now and then. It’ll boost your mood and get you motivated to conquer your next task. After a long day on your feet, go ahead and get yourself a little something special—doctor’s orders! 😉
9. Have a snack. Try to eat something every two to three hours. Snacks high in carbs and low in fat—pretzels, tortilla chips, and unbuttered popcorn, for instance—are especially helpful because they have been shown to increase your levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps you feel calm.
10. Express gratitude. People who list what they’re thankful for are more optimistic and report fewer health problems than those who don’t. But why keep the gratitude to yourself? Spread the joy around by making your loved ones thank you cards expressing your gratitude.
11. Cash in on holiday scents. Science suggests that certain smells are therapeutic. For instance, pine can decrease hostility and depression levels, citrus can boost your mood, and peppermint can increase motivation, energy, and confidence. And there’s a bonus: Smell is the sense most connected to memory, so a whiff of gingerbread can bring back the good ol’ days of baking with Grandma!
12. Crank up the tunes! When “Frosty the Snowman” comes on the radio, belt along, because singing can reduce your stress hormone levels. Not a singer? Luckily for you, even listening to your favorite music increases blood flow to your brain (which helps you think straight).
13. Take time for your hobbies. You didn’t think we’d forget this one, did you? 😉 Concentrating too long on tasks may lower your productivity. Spending even a few minutes on an activity you enjoy (like scrapbooking) gives your mind a break, so pull out your artwork and work on it for 10 minutes. When you return to your original task, your brain will be more focused and ready to work.
Don’t send stress an invitation to your next holiday party. Instead, take a deep breath and try these tips. Let this special season be the best one you’ve ever had and make some merry memories!