Sure, many of us are wrapping up the year with a calendar full of family time and happy traditions, but this time of year also brings holiday stress like figuring out a budget for all the gifts you need to buy or finding time for every event. Throw in pressure at work and less energy from the lack of sunlight and it seems like we’re all doomed. Even as a wellness editor and health coach, my only health goal this season is to stress less. After all, the point of physical health is for mental health—eating nourishing foods and moving our bodies are simply tools to help us live our happiest lives. Since the holidays are known as the most stressful time of year (just as much as they’re known as the most wonderful time of year), I gathered the best tips to decrease stress in every area of your life so you have the most enjoyable, happy, and stress-free season possible. The Ghost of Christmas Present will thank you.
1. Try CBD
We’ve talked a lot about CBD for deeper sleep and even help reaching orgasms, but this super ingredient should not just be reserved for the bedroom. CBD can help promote a sense of calm and stress relief without making you tired or have lower energy. Whether you’re stressing about an overpacked schedule, year-end work presentation, or just feel more stressed because of the time of year (the weather outside is frightful AF), CBD might be the secret ingredient you’re missing.
We love Equilibria because their products are high-quality, organically grown, and made without GMOs, heavy-metals, and pesticides—it’s basically like the farm-to-table version of CBD (and when it comes to supplements, it’s so important to know where they’re coming from). To stay calm, help your body relax, and overall decrease stress, add the Daily Drops to your morning coffee for sustained stress relief throughout the workday, rub the Calming Roller onto pulse points for a stress relief boost before meetings, or take the Daily Softgels for increased stress relief over time.
2. Eat mindfully
Food can be a major source of stress, especially around the holidays. Whether your stress comes from the chores of grocery shopping, meal prepping, and cooking (it can be so much work!), or your stress is more along the lines of feeling like you broke your “diet rules” during holiday meals, nutrition can feel taxing. Since you have much more important things to worry about than how many calories are in that cinnamon bun or when to go the grocery store, get rid of expectations, rules, or habits and just eat mindfully and frequently check in with your body.
For those of you who are stressed about how much work cooking is, search for ways to make meal prepping easier for you during this busy season: Is it worth investing in grocery delivery or a meal delivery service to eradicate some stress? Most importantly, frequently check in on what your body really wants for each meal (sometimes it will crave something nourishing like soup, and other times it will crave Chinese takeout—and that’s OK!). For those of you who get stressed about “overeating” at holiday meals, know that there’s plenty of room for mindful indulgences, even in a healthy diet. Give yourself permission to eat foods you enjoy, eat intuitively, and check in with your body. Are you feeling sluggish and need some more veggies to nourish or will you enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie? Forget eating for perfection—eat with the priority of self-compassion and it’ll drastically reduce your stress levels (guaranteed).
3. Schedule alone time
I live for a morning and evening routine. I love a warm cup of lemon water and gratitude journaling in the a.m., and I look forward to evening stretches, skincare, and meditation all day long. However, routines feel more difficult to fit in during the holidays (or any other busy time), and we don’t realize that practices we started in the name of “stress relief” are actually making us more stressed. If you’re frustrated that you didn’t make time for a morning meditation or you binged Netflix instead of working out, don’t panic. The goal of a routine (or any self-care practice) is not to check items that you’re “supposed” to do off of a list. Instead, the goal is to do something that makes you feel good, and that might look different every day or season. Your only stress-relief routine should be to make time for yourself every morning and night, and then be OK if what that time looks like changes.
4. Prioritize having fun
A realization that changed my life is that the only purpose of the holiday season is to enjoy it. That’s it. The purpose isn’t to buy the best gifts, fit in every single tradition, make the most delicious pie ever, or even see every person you care about. The purpose is just to enjoy it. Once you start reframing the purpose of the season, you’ll be able to start realizing how you’re holding yourself back from that goal and causing stress you could actually get rid of. It sounds so childlike and basic, but it’s the #1 reason most of us are stressed out this time of year. We don’t realize that the items on our to-do list that are meant to make the most of the season are actually keeping us from enjoying it. Before scheduling every event you’re invited to, adding a bunch of different wellness practices to your routine, or deciding what food you’re going to eat at every holiday meal, ask yourself if this truly helps you enjoy your life. If not, you know what to do: thank u, next.
5. Make a list of the top 10 sources of stress (and then fix what you can)
Many people avoid facing their stressors or sweep them under the rug until it comes out in moments that wouldn’t typically cause a ton of stress, like your roommate leaving dishes in the sink or your boss scheduling an extra meeting. Spend a few minutes identifying and writing down the top 10 sources of stress in your life. Once you know where your stress is coming from, you’ll be able to find solutions. You can even go so far as to take your #1 stressor and come up with five things you can do right now to minimize it (and then do them). If you find that some of your stressors aren’t solvable, you can begin to accept what cannot be changed. Accepting life circumstances as they are can also help ease stress, even if you can’t actually change them (because you can always change mindset).
This post includes a sponsored mention of Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.