The holiday season is often exciting and joyful, but it can also bring extra stressors into your daily life. With more, holiday cooking, gift shopping, social-distance socializing, and 2020 in general, it can become easy to get caught up in the stress and forget to take time for yourself.
Even on the busiest of days, it is important to take a step back and give yourself a little bit of time to relax and destress. Make sure you are finding ways to complete your stress cycle. Here are some quick and simple ways to relieve stress, even when time is limited:
Read a book, magazine, or blog
Reading someone else’s words can get our minds away from our own lives for a few minutes. Stimulate your brain by reading, but try not to read anything that seems like it will add to your stress.
Talk a walk
Even if it is chilly outside, grab a jacket and go for a walk or run! Breathing fresh air and getting your heart rate up will rejuvenate you and help to clear your mind. Try to not multitask with phone calls or planning while walking, just take this time for yourself. As a bonus, you can listen to your favorite music or podcast while you walk.
Spend 5 or 10 minutes doing a guided meditation or mindful breathing exercise. Some great apps for guided meditation are reviewed in our blog on mindfulness apps. If you don’t have the time or space to listen to a guide, simply practicing mindful breathing for a few minutes in silence can do the trick for calming your mind and resetting.
Snuggle a pet
Pets are great stress relievers. Not only does their soft fur provide a sensory effect on stress levels, but the action of cuddling a pet also releases oxytocin in our brains, which is an anti-stress hormone. If you do not have a pet, spending a few minutes curled up in a soft blanket or wearing your favorite soft sweatpants can provide the same sensory stress relief.
Take a nap
A quick power nap can do wonders for our mindset. Sleep deprivation can increase feelings of stress, so if you are feeling overwhelmed and tired, set a timer for 20 minutes, lay down, and close your eyes. Napping has even been shown to reduce stress-related hormones. Just avoid napping for too long (make sure to set a timer). Keep your nap between 10-20 minutes or you will likely wake up feeling groggier than before.
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