We humans need balance to thrive, the intensity of the holidays generally tends to tip the scale towards ‘candle burning on all cylinders’. We overdo, overeat, over-drink, skip our regular regimes, do less exercise, and sleep less due to stress and excitement.
You can’t run on adrenaline for long in this manner without crumbling at some point. A lot of people tend to get sick and blame the cold weather, but most often it is due to being run down with our immune systems overworked.
We need to manage our stress levels, and keep anxiety to a minimum. Here are some stress-relieving methods to stay on top of your game; use these to regroup, reenergise, and rejuvenate during and after the festive season:
Some quick-fix home remedies to relieve stress
This should never be a luxury, sleep is vital to our health in order for us to function efficiently. In times like these, we need to make sure we get as much sleep as possible, and that means a minimum of eight hours per night. Catching up on sleep isn’t really effective, so make sure you find the time to get those essential hours and keep stress at bay.
A nice cup of tea?
Grab yourself a cup of herbal green tea, or matcha, to relieve yourself of the imminent pressure. Green tea is a great source of L-Theanine which helps to soothe and release tension.
Meditation is an ancient practice inducing relaxation and clarity of mind. You can achieve this almost anywhere if you can find a quiet (or use headphones/earplugs), comfortable space to sit and focus inwards for a few minutes and feel the anxiety fall away. This is one of the most tried and tested methods of stress relief in order to find clarity and live in the now, and is fast becoming practiced by people all over the world as a daily norm to handle life in today’s high-pressure societies.
Stretch it out
Standing up for a quick stretch can relieve muscle tension and help us relax during any stressful moment. Even if you have to remain seated there are ways to stretch out some pent up stress; roll your shoulders and open up the chest, rotate your head one way then the other; rotate each foot and hand. If you can get up and do a full stretch or even practice some yoga this works wonders for the blood flow and calms the mind.
There is no simpler way to relax; a slow intake and exhale of breath can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. To up the levels, try pranayama breathing; a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. This technique is supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body, it is probably partly to do with the distraction of focussing on one side and then the other.
Get some Rays
It is a fact that the very thing that keeps our planet alive can also give us a health boost. Vitamin D is vital to our systems and can also prevent and reduce depression. All you need to do is absorb some direct sunlight (no sunscreen, no covering) for a few minutes per day. Close your eyes and soak it up.
When there’s no professional masseuse in sight, try DIYing a hand massage for instant relaxation that calms a pounding heart. Massages can be especially helpful for people who spend a lot of time typing on a keyboard. Hands in general can carry a lot of tension. Apply some luxurious lotion and start kneading the base of the muscle under the thumb to relieve stress in the shoulders, neck, and scalp.
Homemade foot massage
Just sit in your favourite chair, grab a golf ball, place it on the floor and roll your feet over it. It works! Super simple de-stressor.
Make sure your workspace and living space are not cluttered and dishevelled. If the places you spend the most time are tranquil, clean and comfortable spaces to inhabit this will provide comfort, as opposed to stress, on a daily basis.
Take a Hike
Sometimes you just need to walk it off or if you feel up to it, run it off. A change of environment, some fresh air and a little physical movement are great ways to ease the pressure while releasing endorphins. At the very least you’ll feel refreshed, will have ‘changed the chip’, and may find things a little easier to handle. It only takes 10 minutes in the fresh air for your brain chemistry to change.
Make a Note of it
Putting our emotions down on paper can make them seem less intimidating. If something is getting to you, write about it, or write an email to a friend to outline the issues that are weighing you down. You may find that just the act of releasing the thoughts will relieve you somewhat from the pressure.
This is an amazingly effective practice which can take time to learn in its entirety, yet there are simple, easy-to-achieve methods you can utilise in the home to induce calm and tranquility. It takes just a minute to drip some lavender, tea tree, or another essential oil onto your palm, and inhale. The soothing scents may help send stress and anxiety out the window by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions. Citrus-based aromas can also help us to relax as can coffee which also helps to reduce stress hormones. You don’t even need to drink it, but inhale the smell of freshly roasted beans.
You’ve got to be joking
Laughter is one of the happiest, most basic ways to combat stress. An outburst of laughter can increase blood flow and boost immunity, plus releases those endorphins which make you feel all fuzzy and warm. It really is the best medicine.
Talk to a Friend
You don’t have to be laughing, just chatting with an old friend and sharing your feelings is as good as any stress-relieving treatment.
Some classical music or a gentle ballad is the perfect wind down just before bed. All the pressures of the day can melt away as you become enchanted by some soothing tunes.
Like Nobody’s Watching
Dance, sing, release! Releasing energy often releases a lot of the stress that builds up inside us. A great way to relieve some pressure and release some endorphins is to put on your favourite track to jump around to and leap and sing it from the rooftops. You will definitely feel a whole lot lighter afterwards; and at the very least it’s a good workout!
If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, your stress levels can be greatly reduced by testing your brain with a puzzle, try a crossword, or sudoku if you’re more of a numbers person. It takes your mind off things and gets the brain pumping in a different way.
Find your Space
Taking five minutes out from a stressful situation can really relieve the pressure; but you need to have a comfortable place to go. Hiding in a bathroom may not sound relaxing but if it means you can light a candle or some incense or just have a moment to look out the window and absorb something other than what is clouding your day, you will feel better. Find a space where you can go to relax and not be disturbed, your place where the tension drips away.
Stress Relief Treatments
Employ the hands of a professional to take you to the next level of calm.
An amazing way to release all that tension. Acupressure is a touch therapy that works by balancing the circulation of fluids and energies in the body. Go to a professional practitioner or try a simple, quick-fix home method by using the thumb and forefinger to massage the area between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Add a little lavender oil for extra relaxation.
To achieve deep and meaningful relaxation you may want to consider treating yourself to a full-body massage. This can prove to be an expensive way of relieving stress and tension so it is not something everybody can do every day. However, once in a while and when you most need it, this is an excellent way to draw out all the negative energy and leave you feeling calm, relaxed and rejuvenated.
Indian Head Massage
A more accessible relaxation, this ancient massage technique can be practiced anywhere, sitting down, fully-clothed. Oils are not essential to this practice and so you could even fit one in during your lunch break.
Treat yourself to a spot of luxury and head to the spa for the afternoon. Soaking in the jacuzzi, sweating it out in the sauna and steam room and perhaps having a facial, or other treatments, will all contribute to refreshing your body and mind and replenishing all that lost energy.
Professional Relaxation Therapy
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer a Professional Relaxation Therapy Course which helps you build the skills of resilience to adversity and stress. It is ‘resilience’ that helps us adapt to stress, and bounce back, from the difficult times in life. This distance learning diploma course of 8 lessons – accredited all over the world – will not only teach you about stress and how to manage it but will also give you the skills you need to set up as a holistic practitioner.