Guest Post by Kristen Smith
As wonderful as the Christmas season is, with its beautiful decorations, special meals, charitable giving, and extra gatherings with those we love, it can also add to the regular stress of daily life.
The holiday season makes us busier; maybe too busy. We tend to spend extra money and might worry where it will come from. We eat more indulgent foods that typically aren’t available so often, and our bodies know the difference! Even seeing certain family members can bring up stressful, anxious feelings.
Christmas doesn’t need to drag us down, though. It truly can be a beautiful time of the year with some simple and natural stress management!
Obviously, stress is easier to handle when we prevent it in the first place. That might be easier said than done, but there are some simple things we can each do to avoid too much stress.
- Gift giving can be simplified so that there isn’t so much pressure to burst the budget. You might even consider secondhand gifts!
- Getting quality rest really is crucial in preventing stress. I know there are days when I just can’t go on without a nap because all of life’s little trifles seem like major tragedies. After extra rest, I can function again!
- Committing to some proactive healthy habits as you go into the season, like choosing sweets wisely or taking a daily probiotic, can be extremely helpful.
- Key nutrients are often connected to our stress levels. Magnesium is getting much-deserved attention lately because of this! Magnesium lotion is one popular way to boost levels.
De-Stressing with Herbs
As an herbalist, I love turning to plants to help me de-stress!
- Chamomile is well-known and well-loved as a great herb for relaxing. It’s lovely as a tea for both adults and children, and can even be made into a soothing cookie!
- Lemon balm is another relaxing herb. It’s great for the digestive system, too, making it a cup of lemon balm tea a wonderful ending to a full day and a full belly.
- Lavender is another relaxing herb that’s very calming to the body. Though it can be taken on it’s own, I actually love to blend it into an herbal tea with chamomile and lemon balm for a truly relaxing drink.
- Astragalus is an adaptogen, which is a type of herb that helps the body adapt to stress. It makes for a great daily supplement, especially during times of extra stress like the holidays!
De-Stressing with Essential Oils
Essential oils are a great place to turn when needing to de-stress, especially when you understand how to use them.
Certain essential oils are well-known for their actions in promoting peace and calm. Lavender is one familiar option, as are bergamot and many citrus oils.
You don’t even need a fancy diffuser to enjoy the oils. You can simple place a few drops in a warm saucepan of water set over very low heat, dab on a tissue and inhale, or turn into a very simple room spray.
De-Stressing with Other Natural Methods
Some of the best ways to de-stress simply involve taking some time out of our day to really care for ourselves.
- Exercise is one of the best stress relievers that’s probably most often neglected. (I’m guilty of this!) Fitness doesn’t have to be overly intense and difficult to be effective, though. Smart, gentle fitness can be extremely beneficial, as is any motion that you enjoy.
- Soaking in a tub with epsom salts takes only 20-30 minutes, but is so relaxing! You can add baking soda for more of a detox bath or just soak your feet if that’s all you can manage before bed.
- Pampering yourself with a quick facial steam or hand and food scrub can soothe tension with minimal effort.
- Warm, soothing drinks are a great way to end a full day. Along with teas made from the herbs mentioned above, homemade hot chocolate, spiced vanilla milk, and herbal chai tea are great options.
- Not to be forgotten is the spiritual connection to stress. Prayer and scripture meditation can keep us grounded when life seems too fast. Focusing on certain favorite verses always helps me when I’m weary or anxious.