Now that the presents are opened, stomachs are full, and children are excitedly playing with their new gifts, it’s time to unwind from all the stressful holiday shopping and preparation. This year I actually learned from my previous holiday experiences by shopping early and online. But even with as much preparation as I’d like to think I had, holidays could still be more than we anticipated, so now is the best time to start de-stressing.
Get Stress Relief Naturally:
Eat the Right foods – We all know that having a healthy eating habit is the key to a successful life. When you eat the right types of food with the proper nutrients, your brain and your body will work at their premium levels. But eating certain types of food can also help relieve stress. Eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables is key in getting top notch nutrients into your body. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals to help maintain your health. Eating small amounts of carbohydrates, such as whole grains, also helps release certain brain chemicals that promote relaxation. And try green tea or herbal tea to create more balance in your body. Stay away from sugary food and caffeinated beverages as they provide little if no health benefits.
Calm Environment – stress factors such as loud sounds and anxiety can put a toll on your health and mind. Relax by listening to soothing music or reading a good book. Try not to watch television as the ultraviolet rays can actually overwork your brain rather than calm it.
Aromatherapy – if you’ve ever used essential oils, you’ll know that they smell quite different from artificially scented products. Essential oils are naturally derived from certain plants to be used in almost anything you might want to fragrance. Try putting a few drops of essential oil on your light bulb to create a natural scent for your room. Add some into your bath and let the scent calm and soothe you. You can also carry vials of essential oils by adding a few rock salt into the vial with essential oils. Oils such as lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus are all great mood carriers.
Exercise – exercising isn’t just for adding muscle mass or reducing weight. Depending on the type of exercise such as Taichi, Yoga, or gentle walking, exercising helps increase blood flow to your brain and heart. Slow movement exercises where focused breathing is emphasized can also help with reducing stress. Breathing creates being in the moment and being mindful of what you’re doing, therefore decreasing the need for your brain to think too much.
Earth-Friendly Cleanup Tips:
Whether you’ve already disposed all of your Christmas waste or hid them away into a corner hoping they’ll disappear on their own, there are better and environmentally safer ways to cleaning up your trash. There will most likely be two categories of cleanup – waste from gifts and the gifts themselves – and there are three options you can choose when it comes to disposing them: donate, recycle, or reuse.
What to do with unwanted gifts:
Donating – this is a great way of giving away those gifts that you either don’t want or have more than one of. Someone out there will appreciate the gift that you dropped off at the donation center. It’s also a great tax write-off if you’re inclined to get a receipt.
Reuse (or re-gifting) – consider that the present you received isn’t one you’re likely to use, it’s okay to re-gift it to someone who you know will appreciate or use it. What if you received two books of the same title? You’re not likely to keep both of them are you? Simply give one away to a friend who you know will enjoy the book or help someone start a new collection of books.
Recycle – recycling unwanted items might sound dodgy, but at least it won’t go to waste or end up in the landfill. Almost anything can be recycled but check to make sure your local recycling center can take them. For recycling items and recycling center, check out Earth911: https://search.earth911.com/.
All that trash!:
It would be so easy to just take a giant trash bag and dump everything in that bag. But wait! Consider that most of the trash can either be recycled, re-purposed (or reused), or upcycled.
Wrapping paraphernalia – wrapping papers, bows, bags, and boxes in good condition can be saved and re-used. Keep them stored in their own bin so you can reuse them throughout the year. Check before you buy any new wrapping items so that you don’t end up with more waste.
Easy and fun crafts – Turn those cardboard boxes and shredded wrapping paper into fun crafts for your kiddos. Wrapping paper can be made into creative bookmarks. Cardboard boxes can be made into secretive forts. And holiday cards can be turned into gift tags.
Leftover food and treats – If you still have a lot of leftover food and sweet treats, consider donating them to a local food shelter. Most food shelters will take unopened food but be sure to call ahead and see what they’ll accept. Untouched food can also be given to a neighbor. Maybe you have extra loaves of cake, cookies, or chocolate and you know that you really shouldn’t eat all of it anyway. Your neighbors might enjoy that homemade cake your aunt made or bring leftover and (clean) treats to your office’s staff lounge.
Getting ready for next year:
So now that you’ve attempted these stress-relieving tips what should you do now? Plan ahead for next year’s holiday season? Well yes and no. Planning early for the next major holiday can help relieve some stress. Just like any major event, planning ahead prevents most major snafus that may arise. If you’re already thinking about next Christmas and you have the time and patience, start shopping the after-Christmas sales. I guarantee you’ll find some excellent deals that you can pat yourself on the back come October or November. Just remember where you put all of those great after-Christmas items so you don’t stress out when you can’t find them next year.
Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018!
*photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Living, Speculoos.net
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Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.