With National Stress Awareness Day right around the corner (11/6) and the holidays edging ever-closer, I put together a guide to de-stress this season. Don’t let holiday travel, family visits and endless lines at the mall dim your shine! Here are a few quick de-stressing tips to help you relax during the holiday season.
Grounding is a technique popular among those who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks as it helps you get out of your own head and into your body and surroundings. The technique varies a bit depending on who you ask but I’d say that the most widely-spread technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. It consists of using all five senses.
Sit somewhere comfortable and close your eyes while taking a few breaths: in through your nose and out through your mouth, counting to 3 for each step. Then open your eyes and take a look at your surroundings, pointing out to yourself 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Take another deep breath and you’ll find that you almost feel a physical weight lifted from your shoulders.
If you’ve read my other posts this season, I’m sure you aren’t surprised that I’m suggesting a hot cup of herbal tea. The act of making tea, whether loose leaf or prepackaged, is surprisingly relaxing. It forces you to take a break from whatever you’re doing, slow down and create something. It’s definitely a slower process than say making coffee from a keurig as you have to boil water, potentially measure out loose leaf teas and then steep them for a few minutes. But the process isn’t the only relaxing quality of being a tea drinker, the type of tea you consume helps too. I suggest herbal teas so that caffeine doesn’t turn you toward antsy behaviours. I also suggest ashwaghanda tea as it’s an adaptogen that helps manage emotions like stress and anxiety.
I get it. Technology and screens are everywhere. They’re part of our homes and even our work but what most don’t realize is the added stress that comes with being online all the time. Physically, the blue light in screens has multiple adverse effects on our eyesight and even tricks our brains into staying awake longer causing sleepless nights, tired mornings and in turn, stressful days. Mentally though, what we do while using technology is also stressful, social media leads to comparative negative thoughts, video games leads to rage quitting and so much more. To combat these added stressors, I suggest unplugging for, if possible, 30 minutes every day. Turn off the tv while cooking your dinner, instead of scrolling aimlessly through instagram, try reading a chapter of a book or go out for a walk! Which leads me to my next tip:
Move it or Lose it
Ok, this is an age-old suggestion but exercise honestly helps. Getting outside and breathing fresh air, taking a stroll through nature, it all really helps you take a break from everything that’s causing you stress to begin with. Moving your body gets your blood going and releases endorphins that make you happier. I know anytime I take time to myself to actually do something active, I feel good physically for doing so but also mentally, I feel proud of myself for taking the time and for actually exercising haha. If you live in a bustling city with tons of pollution making outside time less than stellar, then yoga is an awesome alternative as it builds strength, teaches mindful movement and breathing and serves as an introduction to meditation
Have a Laugh
You know that saying? Laughter is the best medicine, it’s kind of true. Laughter helps lower stress hormones like cortisol so surround yourself with friends and family that keep you smiling. Or when you’re a little socially drained but still need some good laughs, check out the Comedy section on Netflix or funny animal clips on YouTube.
Keep these tips in your self-care arsenal as you’re making your way into 2020 🙂
Featured Image: Hanna Postova