Managing Holiday Stress
Written by: Jenna M.
For a lot of us, the holiday season is a whirlwind of activity. Buying gifts, wrapping presents, cooking and baking, holiday parties and spending time with loved ones are joyful, but often daunting, tasks and plans. The season that brings love, cheer and togetherness can also bring a lot of stress. In fact, over 80% of Americans report feel moderate to high levels of stress during the holidays.
Most people feel stress in their body as much as their mind. Stress can cause headaches, stomach pains, muscle fatigue and even sleep problems. Fortunately, there’s a lot that can be done to help manage stress and fight the symptoms. Mentally, it’s important to give your busy mind a break from worrying. Although it can be hard to find a few minutes to yourself during this busy time of year, it’s important to set aside time for hobbies you find enriching, like reading or listening to music. Try mediating for 10 minutes a day and practicing deep breathing exercises when you feel tension mounting. Exercise can serve as an immediate stress reliever, as it allows the tension to leave your body. Yoga and tai chi are great because they’re low impact and emphasize the importance of deep, steady breathing.
Bodily self-care during the holidays is the number one way to relieve the symptoms of stress. While it may be difficult to find time in between shopping and visiting loved ones, massages are shown to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increased the production of endorphins, your body natural “feel good” chemical. Fortunately, you don’t have to book an appointment at an expensive massage clinic to experience these benefits. There are a lot of great at-home massage tools to try this year.
If your feet and calves are worn out from marathon shopping trips, the HighHealer is perfect for you. It allows for both hot and cold massage using a special soap stone roller that immediately soothes overworked muscles. Created by a podiatrist, the HighHealer is specially formulated to bring relief and relaxation to tired, achy feet and calves.
If you’re someone who handles stress by unconsciously clenching your jaw, neck and shoulders, the HighBaller will be just what you’re looking for to provide an at-home upper body massage. Featuring two width-adjustable balls, the HighBaller can be used on the floor or mounted on the wall. It will instantly release stress from painful trigger points in your back and neck. If you’re looking for something more light weight that can be carried in your purse or luggage, try the BLACKROLL Micro Roll. This foam roller is handheld and is exactly the right size and shape to use on your neck or jaw for a quick, 10 minute massage in your car or at your desk.
Finally, remember that stress can cause your sleep to go completely off-schedule. If you’re someone who lies awake at night tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep, the solution to this might be found right where you rest your weary head. Having the perfect pillow can be the simplest solution to insomnia caused by stress. The ActiveLife Pure Sleep Orthopedic Pillow has anatomical shape that supports the bend of the cervical spine. It has a "memory effect" that takes the individual form of the head and neck to gently and evenly distribute the pressure of the body while reducing tension in the muscles of the neck and back. It’s even infused with aloe to help you drift off to sleep peacefully.
It can be easy to get bogged down in stress during the holidays. But remember that it truly is the season of happiness and hope. Along with your self-care routine, try to maximize the moments that bring you joy this season, whether it’s spending time with loved ones, eating delicious foods, or caroling and volunteering. Maintaining your health will be the final step to truly enjoying and relaxing during the holiday season. Eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising when you can, and taking time for yourself will make your season complete.