The holidays, for all their merriment and joy, can be stressful. Even with reduced travel for most families this year, the pressures of scheduling, kids being home from school, and gift-buying can make you want to pull your hair out. That’s why it’s important to make self-care a priority and start 2021 on the right foot.
Check out these tips for de-stressing once the glitz and glam of the holidays have settled.
Catch Up on Sleep
Sleep may seem like a luxury when you’re short on time. But this biological necessity is far from superfluous. Sleep deprivation can have a profound impact on the body’s stress management systems. It can disrupt memory, hormones, and the brain’s “decluttering” process. All of this leads to compounding effects on your body’s stress and its ability to manage it. If you find yourself sleep-deprived after the holidays, don’t try to make it up all in one Saturday. Instead, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night until you wake up refreshed. If you begin waking up a few minutes before your alarm usually goes off, then you know you’ve hit the sweet spot.
Take a Walk Outside
Fresh air and exercise can do wonders for a stressed mind and body. Though you may have to bundle up, getting outside and immersing yourself in nature for 15 minutes is an excellent way to slow down and reconnect with the natural world around you. Several studies have shown that merely looking at photos of nature lowers cortisol levels in humans. By coupling the outdoors with exercise, you reap the benefits of two natural stress-reducers.
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Practice the Solitude of Meditation
For someone who’s never tried, meditation can sound daunting. In reality, it’s simply the practice of emptying your mind and giving yourself a break from a myriad of thoughts. Consider starting with a guided meditation app like Headspace or Calm. Even one minute of daily meditation can significantly lower your stress hormones and help you find some much-needed peace after a flurry of holiday frenzies.
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