The holidays are over.
Whether that brings you sadness that your favorite season has come to an end, or joy that you don’t have to deal with all of your extended family for another year, I’m pretty sure one thing everyone feels is relief. You all know that I love Christmas, but even I am relieved to have the stress of it behind me.
You’ve spent weeks rushing around and making sure you’ve gotten everything done for your friends and family, but there’s one gift left that you need to give yourself this season: the gift of a peaceful mind. If you could take just one day, or just part of one day, to relax your mind and body, you’ll be sure to close out this year on a good note.
We have some ideas to help you wind down from the holidays!
Simple Relaxation Techniques
Take a Warm Bath
It sounds too simple to be effective, but taking a nice, warm bath can be a great way to relax. The heat and the near-weightlessness of being in the water help your muscles relax, and you’ll feel the tension float away. Another great thing about taking a bath is that you’re removed from distractions. It’s easy to leave your phone in another room, lock the door, and have a rare moment of peace.
Listen to Calming Music
It’s proven that listening to music can help calm you down. Aside from the happiness you’ll experience from hearing your favorite songs, there are actual physical benefits, too. It can help distract from residual anxiety leftover from the holidays.
Try Deep Breathing Techniques
At the most basic level, paying attention to your breathing can increase mindfulness and distract from anxiety. With practice and correct techniques, though, deep breathing can greatly reduce your stress level. A common technique, and the one I use most frequently, is to inhale deeply through the nose while pushing out the stomach, count to three, then contract the stomach muscles and push the air out through the mouth. There are more advanced techniques, too, once you get the hang of that.
Get Some Exercise
I know that when it’s cold out, the last thing you might want to do is go outside for exercise. But getting outside for a nice walk is so good for peace of mind. The exercise will increase your endorphins, which are known stress-reducers, and increasing blood flow helps you feel better, too. Getting out and moving also helps increase concentration.
If you can’t bear the thought of going outside, you can exercise indoors. Try a quick yoga routine, run up the stairs a few times, or work in some jumping-jacks and push-ups. The benefits will be the same indoors and out.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can be perfect for helping take the edge off your stress. Some of the best essential oils for this purpose are:
While spending time alone has its stress-reducing benefits, you can also feel better if you spend some time with your significant other. For one, they could help you out with that massage I mentioned above, but even the simple act of cuddling can help you feel more at peace. Being close to your loved one helps release oxytocin, and that helps reduce stress. (Here’s a fun list of other benefits of cuddling!)
Now that you’re calmed down and stress free, you can take some time to enjoy the last few days of 2014!
How about you?
How do you plan to keep stress away throughout the new year? Share with the community in the comments below!