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Holiday De-Stress Techniques

I don't know about you but I tend to get wound a little too tight around the holidays. Every year I tell myself I am going to say no to more things, spend less and eat better. I am happy to say that I do better every year but there is room for improvement! I have combed the internet for stress busting techniques and included a few that work for yours truly. Try some or all of them and keep doing the ones that work for you.

Sniff citrus Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket.

Walk away from worries "The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep," says nutrition-and-wellness expert Ann Kulze, MD. Aim for a brisk, half-hour walk every day.

Accupressure Squeeze here The fleshy place between your index finger and thumb is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. Applying firm pressure there for just 30 seconds can reduce stress and tension in your upper body. So if you start to feel overwhelmed by the holiday chaos, give your hand a squeeze and take a deep breathe.

Laughter might still be the best medicine Don't neglect whatever cracks you up Laughing reduces stress hormones. That, in turn, helps immune cells function better. Laugh often. Laughter reduces stress hormones, which relieves anxiety and boosts your immune system. Forget perfection Stop obsessing over doing it all. The world is not going to end if the house is a little cluttered or dinner is on the table a few minutes late. Focus on enjoying the people in your life and the parts of the holidays that bring you joy. The music or the lights are what make me happiest this time of year. Don't sweat the small stuff and your holiday will be much more enjoyable!I

Do your honey-do Have a teaspoon of honey! You'll get an instant kick and energy for the long haul. Plus, research shows that its antioxidant and antibacterial properties may improve your immunity. Here's a tip: The darker the honey, the more powerful the antioxidant punch.

Fit in exercise It may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're stressed out, but going for a run or hitting the gym can actually make you feel better. Research has found that workouts can boost your mood for up to 12 hours. If you can manage 30 minutes 3 days a week you will feel happier and have more energy. Exercise produces endorphins, endorphins make you happy. Take time for yourself Setting aside time for yourself is another great way to cope with stress during the holidays. With so much happening, you might not have a moment alone. However, it’s important to make time for yourself so you can take a breather and clear your mind. Even spending as little as 15 minutes alone might make a world of difference Don't hold your breath Our yoga instructor, Linda Pomeroy says "Breath and stress can't be in the body at the same time." Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.

Ohm If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider trying meditation. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you're out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor's office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.

Give Thanks Those who keep a gratitude journal once per week tended to exercise more often, are more optimistic, feel better physically, and report greater overall well-being.

Give a hand out

Holding hands. It calms your nerves and decreases stress. There is a reason you automatically reach for your partner's hand when you're feeling nervous. Studies show that holding hands has been proven to decrease the stress hormone cortisol as well as lower blood pressure and lower heart rate

Sources include: Health magazine, Healthline, University of Michigan, and our own ideas and experiences. A special thank you to for images used in this blog.

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