While all of the holiday songs boast “Peace on Earth” and “Silent Night”, your month of December seems anything but silent and peaceful. The holidays should be a time to relax with your family and unwind, but with decorating, shopping, cleaning, cooking, and planning, relaxation seems hard to come by. Because you have so much to do and so little time, here are 5 ways to de-stress your holidays in 5 minutes or less!
Focus on what matters
Think about and make note of 3 holiday traditions that mean the most to you. Maybe it’s lighting the Chanukah menorah, going to see the Nutcracker, or baking cookies with your kids. Make these things a priority and stick to them. “What stresses us out is that we don’t take the time to say what we really want,” says Linda Hedberg, a Minneapolis life coach who conducts workshops on making the holidays less stressful. This quick exercise makes sure you are focusing on what the holidays are really about and what truly makes you happy.
Create and listen to a holiday playlist
With the technology on our smart phones, iPods, and laptops these days, creating a playlist can be done in a matter of minutes. De-stress your holiday by compiling a list of songs that put you in a good mood while you accomplish all the things that this time of year requires. Sick of hearing Christmas songs on every radio station and in every department store? Here’s your chance to switch it up and give yourself a break from the “holly jolly” tunes and make your playlist all your own. But, no one will judge you if you throw in something from Justin Bieber’s holiday album.
Let the light in
The winter months mean shorter days and therefore significantly less hours of daylight. Throw open the curtains when you get up and let in as much light throughout the day as possible. A study by the University of Washington affirms nature’s stress relieving powers. Just looking outside trumps spending time in a windowless room or viewing nature scenes on a screen. Up the ante by decorating with natural items, get a real Christmas tree or use pine cones in vases as centerpieces.
Divvy up the responsibilities
Throw your immediate or extended family into a group message on your phone to quickly and efficiently divide up holiday responsibilities. Manage who is bringing what dish to your holiday dinner (no one wants 3 pecan pies and no pumpkin) and decide who is getting dad his annual Massage Envy gift card, so as not to duplicate gifts this year. Divided responsibilities (with proof from your text history!) will eliminate the feeling that you’re doing everything and will instantly de-stress your holiday.
Apply some pressure
A quick 5 minutes massage from your friend or partner is all it takes to quickly relieve holiday stresses. This recent study even showed that participants who gave massages had fewer woes and less stress than those who received the rubdown. So make a deal to give each other a massage and reap both benefits! Or, quickly relieve stress all on your own by gently squeezing the fleshy place between your index finger. This is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. Applying firm pressure there for just 30 seconds can reduce stress and tension in your upper body.