surviving the holiday season stress

November 18, 2019

surviving the holiday season stress

It hardly seems possible that 2019 is nearly over, and another Christmas is rushing toward us! While we just love Christmas, it’s not called ‘the silly season’ for nothing – all the extra planning, gift-buying and socialising can be exhausting and stressful. So this month, we thought we’d help you through the pre-Christmas craziness with some gentle, natural self-care ideas to keep stress at bay and make your upcoming holiday season more enjoyable.

Add calming elements to your environment

Diffuse relaxing essential oils: The scents from essential oils can stimulate the area of your brain that takes care of your emotions (the limbic system), and there are lots of divine aromas that promote relaxation, such as lavender, bergamot, ylang-ylang or neroli. Place a few drops of your favourite oil in a cool air diffuser to create a calming and uplifting atmosphere. If you’re not sure which oils to pick, try Verite Spa’s Tranquility or Balance blends.

Listen to ambient music: Unlike structured pop or rock music, ambient music is a continuous stream of sound that lacks a persistent beat – it’s all about tone and atmosphere. It helps the brain to filter out negative stimuli and focus on the present. Studies have found that listening to meditative music causes your breathing and heart rate to slow, relaxing your entire body.

Get enough light: Make sure you have as much natural light as possible flooding your home or workplace. Sunlight increases your levels of the happy hormone serotonin, which is responsible for boosting your mood and helping you to feel calm.

Make time for yourself

Take a relaxing bath: Soaking in warm water is more than just a chance for a few minutes of peace – the heat relaxes your muscles and releases feel-good endorphins into your system. The gentle pressure of the water on your chest increases your lung capacity and helps you to absorb more oxygen. Make it a truly divine experience by drizzling a little Calm Bath & Massage Oil into the water to fill the air with relaxing citrus scents.

Just breathe: When you get stressed, your breathing can become shallow, which in turn limits the amount of oxygen in your system. The lack of oxygen fires up your sympathetic nervous system, leading to more stress. If you’re feeling tense, spend a few minutes breathing deeply and slowly – in through your nose so that your abdomen (not your chest) expands, and then exhale softly and completely through your mouth.  

Go for a walk: Walking is wonderful for banishing stress in several ways. If you walk somewhere with plenty of greenery and nature, it can put your mind into a relaxing, meditative state. If you walk briskly, it releases those feel-good endorphins we mentioned earlier. And walking in the sun will increase your levels of Vitamin D, the lack of which has been linked to anxiety, depression and poor quality sleep. Ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure three times a week should be plenty – make sure you don’t get burned!

Look after your body

Make sure you’re properly hydrated: Being even a little dehydrated can increase your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so be sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. If you’re not a fan of plain water, a cup of herbal tea can be an excellent substitute, especially if you choose teas like peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm or green tea, all of which have stress-relieving properties.

Get enough sleep: It’s often easier said than done, but getting a solid 7-8 hours’ sleep each night does wonders for your mood and your energy. Sleep deprivation makes you much more likely to feel stressed, irritable and angry. Getting enough sleep fortifies you emotionally and physically, giving you the energy to power through those hectic pre-Christmas weeks. Make your nighttime routine something to look forward to by incorporating luxurious activities – we recommend gently applying some Absolute Rose Serumwith one of our new facial rollers or gua sha crystals as a regular part of your pre-bedtime ritual.

Eat a healthy diet: There’s a temptation to start indulging early as all those end-of-year parties fill your calendar, but being mindful of what you eat in the lead-up to Christmas will help you get there in much better shape. A balanced diet packed with organic veggies, fruit, legumes and whole grains is a great idea at any time of year, but if you’re under extra stress, consider food sources that help to promote relaxation.

  • Nuts are rich in selenium, an essential mineral which helps to combat anxiety, depression and fatigue. Just a few Brazil nuts each day will provide you with all the selenium you need.
  • Chickpeas are a fantastic source of folate, which is a B vitamin that can reduce stress by helping your body make the mood-stabilising hormones serotonin and dopamine.
  • Some varieties of lettuce, such as Romaine, contain lactucarium, a substance with sedative properties.
  • Kumara and other types of sweet potato are rich in magnesium and potassium, which help to relax your muscles and improve your sleep.
  • Dark chocolate – yes, you read that correctly! Science isn’t exactly sure why dark chocolate reduces stress. Some people theorise it’s due to the flavonoids, which might reduce inflammation in the brain. Others suggest it could be because of the cocoa content. In any case, dark chocolate is also rich in tryptophan (an amino acid that helps you make serotonin, the happy hormone) and magnesium, so what better excuse is there to treat yourself a little!
    by: Claire Wilkins

 





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