It’s just about this time of year that my stress levels tick up a few notches. They start slowly going up right around Thanksgiving and usually are at an all time high right about now. I know I’m not the only one who feels like this! I think the reason for this is two-fold. Not only are you spending copious amounts of money on presents and prepping for Christmas with various family members. You’re also likely taking time off from work, which can increase your workload after the holidays. Definitely a stress inducing time!
And although it’s super easy to turn to that extra glass of wine or that extra Christmas cookie (or five), there are other ways to relieve stress during the holidays!
Use Essential Oils
As much as I talk about my love for Bath and Body Works candles, when I’m really stressed I’ll take out the big guns – A.K.A my essential oils. For the last few years, my favorite brand of oils has been Eden’s Garden because they’re verified pure, and they’re more affordable than a lot of other brands out there. It’s also a woman-owned company so gotta support my fellow boss-babes, right?! I love their synergy blends, like “relaxation” and “stress relief” during high stress times. But, my favorite oil to use during times like these, is actually their pure lavender oils. They have several different kinds. I use the spike lavender because, honestly, it’s the cheapest, and I actually like the scent the most (win-win!). I’ll often diffuse this at night because it’s perfect for relaxing before sleep!
You can diffuse these oils or rub them on your wrist, temples, or back of your neck to smell the scent throughout the day.
This gorgeous diffuser is currently under $30 and looks so much nicer than most on the market!
Stick to a Routine
This is the time of year that I’m constantly confused on what day it is. It’s like I enter Christmas “break” and lose all sense of time until after New Year’s. I love and hate this. It makes me feel more relaxed in the moment. But, late at night, I sit up thinking about all the things I didn’t get done on my “to-do” and all of the things that I’m pushing until after the New Year. It is Christmas time, so take it easy! But try spending 30-40 minutes a day doing something more productive and tackle some small items on your to-do list. That way, when the New Year arrives, you feel ahead of the game instead of behind.
Another easy way to stick to a routine is to try to go to bed at a reasonable time and limit your sleeping-in. As Kevin can attest to, if you let me, I’ll sleep until ten then read in bed for two hours and crawl out around noon. But as relaxing as that sounds, I always feel like I’ve wasted my day and feel 10 times more stressed out after getting up. So, take it from a habitual late-sleeper. Avoid that last drink, chug water, go to bed at a good time and wake up refreshed, ready to spend valuable time with those you love (even if it’s just with yourself!). And then, you may just feel up to tackling some of those small items on your to-do!
Take Time to Yourself
This Christmas, like all others, Kevin and I will be literally all over the place. We head to Milwaukee on Saturday to be with my in-laws for two days. Then we’ll leave super early (talking like 6AM) on Monday to catch Christmas morning with my family before my nephews open their gifts, and then we’ll we head back home on Tuesday afternoon. Sleep and personal time will be scarce as we try to maximize the time with both of our families. However, it’s not impossible to take time to yourself during a holiday weekend like this.
A great way to get that necessary self-care time in is to take 20-30 minutes a day doing something “unnecessary” that only involves you. I personally love to read before going to bed. Not only does this build in me-time (I don’t go to bed any earlier than I would otherwise, so I’m not taking time away from my family), but it also helps take my mind off whatever is going on before I go to bed. The nights I don’t read before going to bed because I’m “too busy” and have to sleep “right away” are often the nights that I can’t fall asleep for an hour. It’s also a great way to avoid “screen time” right before bed. Too much exposure to screens/blue light can actually make you sleep worse. Try reading, or doing something like journaling, before going to bed to take your mind off the day and focus on something for you.
This time of year, I read a lot of feel-good books. Think Hallmark movies only in a book. They make me feel good, don’t require me to do a lot of critical thinking and are usually page-turners. Two good books I’ve read this December are Jenny Hale’s Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses as well as Coming Home for Christmas. Coming Home was actually made into a Hallmark movie this year so you know it’s a good one!
Doing a traditional workout like going to the gym isn’t always an option when traveling for the holidays. However, there are other ways to exercise that’ll make you feel less sluggish and more in control of your day, therefore, lowering your stress levels. Try taking a walk with a family member in the morning before festivities get started. This is a great way to catch up and also get some exercise in. Another thing you can do is a quick 10-minute yoga routine right when you wake up. This allows your mind to stay focused on your health and remain calm when things get chaotic during the day.
How do you relieve stress during the holidays? Are you and your loved ones doing anything special to celebrate this weekend?
As Kev and I will be traveling and maxing time with family, there will not be a new post on Monday. I know you all will understand! Stay tuned for two posts next week on goal setting for 2018 and a 2017 year in review post. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter so that we can stay connected over the holidays! And, FYI, be sure to check Nordstrom next week for their half yearly sale that always happens between Christmas and New Year’s!
Happy Holidays Everyone!!