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Naturally Stress-Free During The Holidays

By Claire McFarland, blogger

From a stress-fighting diet to various anxiety-relieving exercises and even aromatherapy, there are many natural remedies to fighting the angst of the holiday season. Prevent an overwhelming break by trying these simple, effective tips and find that shopping, eating, and family gatherings become a whole lot easier. Click ahead to find out how to keep your holidays stress-free!

Feel-Good Foods

Let’s face it: The holiday season is enough to throw off anyone’s diet and exercise regime. As temptations increase, feelings of guilt, anxiety and nervousness can increase during this time of thanks. Instead of being haunted by the holidays, try making a few small changes to your eating habits to relieve your stress and help you to enjoy the season. Health expert, Michael Castleman, published an article this month revealing a few simple tips for a healthy way to celebrate the season.

  • Focus on basic nutrition: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and include a daily multivitamin and/or mineral supplement.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain rice, multi-grain bread, oats or bran-flakes. These carbs stimulate the release of certain brain chemicals that not only promote relaxation, but also curb cravings for the starchy stuff.
  • Lay off the caffeine. This holiday season, decaf is the way to go—caffeine has been shown to make its consumers feel wound-up and hyperactive. This increased awareness can lead to irritability and reactivity. Rather than trying to quit cold turkey, try cutting back first or going for half-caff to help even out your mood and prevent withdrawl headaches.
  • Natural herbal teas and aromas can help keep your moods at a peaceful level. Teas such as chamomile or lavendar have been shown to have calming effects, as their aroma and gentle chemical properties can reduce stress and even increase feelings of calm and euphoria.

Create a Calming Environment

Appealing to all of the senses has been proven to change your mind and your mood. A recent study in the Mayo Clinic showed that by changing the sounds, scents and sights that you surround yourself with, you can dramatically alter your level of stress this holiday. Try listening to soothing music at home, school or while traveling to create a positive, relaxed tempo for yourself. By keeping the momentum while traveling, you may prepare yourself for a better, healthier attitude once you arrive at your destination. So for those of you taking the bus home for break or driving through hectic holiday traffic, keep those tranquil tracks on repeat.

Work out to de-stress

In addition to nutritional, herbal and sensory stress relief techniques, another option is to work off the stress from the outside in. According to The Secret to Stress Relief, people who regularly exercise are often happier and less stressed out than those who don’t find the time to do so. Even a simple, quick workout can have proven and lasting results. Exercising for 30 minutes several times a week can naturally reduce stress, and can also help prevent stress to the immune system. Staying healthy is a great head start when it comes to feeling more relaxed and being able to handle all of the fun and bustle of the season.

You don’t have to work up a sweat to physically relieve stress. When you realize you’re wound up too tight, stop and breathe. Roll your shoulders back and stand (or sit) up straight. Smiling techniques, shown in an article in the Herbcompanion health tip handbook, can help calm anxiety as well. Smiling sends a signal from your facial muscles to your brain that encourages calm. With a little more time, try meditation to relieve stress, as it has also been proven to relax the muscles and mind.

The next time you feel overwhelmed by the holiday’s menu, traveling traffic or crazy relatives, remember the small, simple tips that can lead to a happier and healthier holiday.