Thanksgiving is over and we are now officially in the middle of the holiday season. With the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, work, family, and keeping the whole family healthy through the cold and flu season, stress can really take a toll on our bodies. Without proper relief, stress can build up until it starts affecting everything from your immune system, to how much sleep you get.
Stress Affects All Systems in the Body
When stress hits, it can sometimes be very powerful and hard to overcome. When stress builds up, all of the body’s systems are affected over time. Being over-stressed all of the time, will eventually wear down the body and cause illness. For the health of your entire body, it is important to take time for yourself and relax your mind and body. Even if just for a few minutes a day, taking extra time to keep your peace can really help you to sleep better, lose weight, and even fight off illness easier.
5 Natural Ways to Relieve Stress During the Holiday Season
There are all sorts of beautiful resorts, spas, and even medications that you can put your money into as a quick fix when you are overstressed and burnt out, but if you want to maintain an easy-going, semi-stress free lifestyle (because life will never be totally stress free) year around, there are a few cheap, easy, and totally natural ways to bring the spa to your home and let your stresses go. I honestly practice ALL five of these as often as I can, and find myself in fabulous spirits (most of the time, no one’s perfect). These are my 5 favorite natural ways to relieve stress during the holiday season (or any overly stressful time):
1. Meditate – Clinically, meditation has shown to be very effective in reducing anxiety levels, increasing cognitive function, improving moods, and even combating depression (Hoge et al., 2013; Speca et al., 2000). Meditation is super easy to do on your own and you can start with as little as five minutes a day. It costs absolutely nothing to meditate, and if you continuously practice, you may eventually find that stress is no longer something that affects you. Through meditation, I have learned to accept myself and to look deeper, beyond the surface of my soul. You can learn my secrets to learning to meditate here.
2. Yoga – It’s no secret that exercise is great for busting stress, but yoga is even better. I feel like yoga gives stress the one two punch with exercise AND awareness. Yoga so gentle and can be done by anyone, in any location (I most often practice in my living room at night). You can mingle with other folks in a studio, or you can even practice in the comfort of your own home using the Internet (there is a plethora of videos, websites, apps, and even subscriptions that you can choose from to get the instruction that is right for you. I personally use MyYogaWorks.com) Yoga is another option that does not require a lot of time to be helpful. 15 minutes a day can really help to reduce stress and even build those ab muscles. (Have you tried doing a plank for more than a minute at a time?)
3. Herbal Epsom Bath – I never used to take baths that often, and when I did, I would always get out early because I was just too hot and antsy, but as I have become more familiar with the many different ailments that get relief from something as simple as a bath, I have become a lot more fond of baths. We all know that a bath in itself can be a relaxing spa treatment, but the addition of Epsom salts can be what makes the difference for many people for stress, insomnia, depression, and more. The reason that Epsom salt is so awesome is because it contains a high content of magnesium, a mineral that many people are deficit in. In fact, magnesium deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies that people struggle with. Taking an Epsom bath is just one of the ways that you can get more magnesium into your body. Get our DIY lavender salt bath recipe here!
4. Drink a calming tea – I love the tradition that each cup of tea brings me. I have begun to take that extra time to deeply inhale the herbal infused steam that rises from my cup and to linger for just a moment on the scent that my calming tea brings. There are many tasty teas that contain herbs that help with calming the mind, relaxing the body, and soothing the soul. Chamomile, lemon balm, and passionflower are all great herbs for a stress reducing tea. Learn about more of our favorite herbs herbs for self-care here.
5. Read a book for fun – This may seem like a silly filler answer, but I swear to you from the bottom of my heart this is one of my favorite methods of relieving stress. During the most stressful moments in my life with all of my surgeries, recoveries, and random life curve-balls, I would curl up with a good book and immerse myself in a world completely different from ny own. I often find answers to my own problems when following characters through their issues and can forget my own problems during those moments that I am visiting with my friends on the pages. I am of the mind that reading is just another form of meditation.
When stress gets the best of you this holiday season, how are you going to bust it?
This post was written by The Hippy Homemaker, Christina, who loves to share what she’s learning about green and eco-friendly living, natural health, aromatherapy, herbalism and more!
Hoge EA, Bui E, Marques L, Metcalf CA, Morris LK, Robinaugh DJ, Worthington JJ, Pollack MH, Simon NM. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Aug;74(8):786-92.
Speca M, Carlson LE, Goodey E, Angen M. (2000). A randomized, wait-list controlled clinical trial: the effect of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. Psychosom Med. 2000 Sep-Oct;62(5):613-22.