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Bah Humbug! 7 Tricks to Relieve Stress (Holiday Edition)

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The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the stress of busy holiday shopping, travel, parties, and the looming fear that you won’t get it all done. And once you finally do have time to take a breather, you end up weighing holiday stress down with an extra serving of mashed potatoes and a double dose of eggnog. But the holiday season doesn’t have to stress you out. With a little forethought you can sit back, relax, and watch everyone else get lost in the rush.

7 Tips to Relieve Holiday Stress

1. Stick to your schedule.

Part of the reason that we always get stressed out during the holiday season is because we’re off of our normal routine. We forget to do the things that keep us calm like meditation, yoga, and exercise. This year stick with your normal daily schedule and add one item each day that you need to accomplish to prepare for the holiday season. Whether it’s wrapping presents, sending Christmas cards, or baking your kid’s favorite sugar cookies, get the tasks done gradually and you won’t feel rushed later on.

2. Learn to say no.

Whether it’s visiting both sets of parents on Christmas day or hitting every holiday party on your list, just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you have to attend. Time is the only thing you can’t get more of during the holiday season so it should be treated like a precious resource. Learn to say no, you’ll be thankful later.

3. Give back.

Often times we get stressed out when we’re focused entirely on ourselves and living in our own little world. This holiday season, when you start to feel stressed, turn the attention away from yourself. Instead of making Christmas day all about your own family, why not volunteer at a soup kitchen? Instead of making Christmas day all about opening family gifts, use a portion of your budget to fund a family that won’t be able to put gifts under their Christmas tree.

4. Replace coffee with peppermint tea.

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From the Organic Authority Files

'Tis the season for peppermint, and it’s caffeine-free. Coffee just adds to stress causing anxiety when that’s the last thing we need. And we tend to drink more coffee around Christmas because we’re trying to get it all done. This year slow down and enjoy a refreshing cup of  peppermint tea. Studies have shown that peppermint tea has a host of health benefits including keeping you from catching a cold, preventing tumors, relaxing gastrointestinal issues, and most importantly, calming you down.

5. Take advantage of natural herbs like kava.

Sometimes you just need a little push in the stress-free direction. But instead of reaching for that second glass of vino or adding bourbon to your homemade nog, reach for natural relaxing herbs like kava. Kava has long been called the "happy root" because it makes you feel SO good. It has a calming effect on the mind and produces similar brain waves to those seen in people taking Valium. When you feel a blanket of overwhelming stress, consider the immediate calming effects of 1Hour Break–the first all natural oral spray that targets stress and anxiety. In addition to kava, 1Hour Break includes a host of other stress relieving natural herbs like St. John’s Wort, lobelia, passionflower, and pulsatilla.

6. Eat as clean as possible.

Just because the food is there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. It’s never worth it to overeat because it’s so much more difficult to lose the weight than it was to put it on. And holiday weight gain just adds to your stress. If you’re cooking, keep it easy with tons of simply prepared local vegetables. When it’s time to eat, make up a plate of mostly vegetables with a small serving of starches and meat. Enjoy one dessert instead of sampling all three and let that be it until the next meal. Avoid snacking--it’s not one fatty meal that piles on the pounds but going back for more and more after that. Eat mindfully and enjoy yourself but don't attempt to relieve stress by overeating when it actually has the opposite effect.

7. Enjoy a holiday yoga class.

Yoga studios will often schedule special yoga classes around the holidays. I love holiday classes because they're a great reason to escape family tension and burn off that pumpkin pie. They're also a good reminder to breathe into the present moment and show gratitude for all that you have.

Related on Organic Authority:

How to Manage Stress By Creating a Relaxing Oasis At Home
Lower Stress All Day Long: 6 Tips for Working People
5 Ways Chronic Stress Makes You Look Older Faster (And What to Do About It)

Image: Sara.Nel

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