Let’s get right to it.
The holiday season can be stressful. Unless you completely Grinch-out for the next six weeks, there’s likely to be a day or two (or forty-something) that are challenging.
Here are some ideas to help maintain enough sanity so you’re less likely to require legal help (with nods to Keenan and Kait). I promise to avoid the obvious… exercising and saying no are givens, right?
- Take a whiff of something citrusy. Studies show this can be a huge mood elevator. Dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief and keep it handy.
- Work your hoku spot—that fleshy place between your index finger and thumb. If you apply firm pressure (I like to massage it) for 30 seconds, you can reduce stress and tension in your upper body.
There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. —Sylvia Plath
- Consider letting go of old customs and starting some new traditions. This can be especially important if your family has suffered loss through death or divorce or a relocation. Maybe you have friends in a similar situation and can begin something new together.
- Honey is truly an elixer worth paying attention to. The darker the honey, the more positive impact it will have. I’m also told that if you can find local honey, it can help with any allergies you’re dealing with.
Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. —Etty Hillesum
- Unplug. Have you seen the commercial that’s curently running where the grandparents enforce a technology-free zone? Yeah, they use tech to get there, but it makes a point. I’m due for what I call a Pajama Day. Basically, I do as little as possible for the entire day and wrap myself up with a book. No makeup. Little cooking. No laundry. The only tech might be my Kindle.
- Eat before you coffee. Studies have shown that caffeine on an empty stomach can cause blood sugar to spike which can lead to attention difficulties and irritability.
Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering. —A.A. Milne
- Laugh like crazy. Your sanity might depend on it. Find a place that tickles your funny bone. (We have Becky, but she can’t be with us 24/7 and we should have backups.) Laughter centers us. It helps us let go of the strangling bits of stress that in the end really don’t matter.
- For some reason, mango keeps showing up as a happy thing. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a fresh mango, jarred or canned, or a mango pie. I think at this point, we don’t look a gift mango pie in the mouth. We take it in our mouth.
Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way. —Douglas Pagels
- Giving a massage can be more beneficial than receiving one. Hello? Got a partner? Indulge.
- Make sure and get some sunlight. If you live in a place like Alaska (waving to Keenan) you might need one of those artifical sunlight machines. Otherwise, get outside or figure out a way to sit by a bright window.
For fast-acting relief try slowing down. —Lily Tomlin
Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down. —Natalie Goldberg
What have you found that helps you move from stress to relaxation? Does it work during the holidays? Or do you just close your eyes and basically hold your breath for the next forty or so days?
It’s all better with friends.