Stress spikes when things in life feel out of control or our standard pace in life shifts in a dynamic way leaving us feeling unsettled and off-balance.
For many people the dynamics surround holiday travel, family visits, and competing priorities overwhelm the nervous system. During these seasons it’s more important than ever to proactively care for your body and relieve stress. Prevention, meditation, and mitigation are all approaches that are shown to help.
Let’s take a look at the best tips to relieve holiday stress.
Prevention of Stress
Holidays come with a long list of to-do’s – adding some easy items to that list provides a feeling of accomplishment and can help motivate you for the remaining tasks.
A few stress-free checkmarks include:
- Get 8 hours of sleep – did you know that it is impossible to “catch up” on lost sleep? The body simply does without. Prevent burn-out by proactively pursuing a full night’s sleep leading up to your major plans. This includes preparation days! A good night of rest will enable your stress levels to naturally level out, your subconscious to process emotional stressors while you sleep, and your body to relax from any tension you were carrying during the day.
- Hot tub or swim spa maintenance – this task doesn’t even require your participation! Schedule maintenance and let someone else service your spa leaving it ready for holiday enjoyment. This not only is an easy box to check off your list, but it prevents it from becoming a future stressor when build-up becomes an unavoidable problem or prevents you from enjoying your hot tub.
- A fun activity or cherished tradition – having something to genuinely look forward to allows time to pass enjoyably and any less-joyous tasks feel worth it! Jot down a special activity so that it becomes a rewarding to-do item and a reminder of what is truly important to you. If one activity spirals into another, enjoy the unexpected fun and let it unfold naturally, the rest of your list can wait.
Stillness and Meditation
Stress can be linked to overstimulation, this includes your brain getting so amped up in “doing”-mode that you forget how to be still. Stilling your body can cue the mind that it is also okay to slow down and be present. Give yourself permission for a set amount of time each day to be still. This may be multiple five-minute intervals, thirty minutes, or over an hour – the amount of time is not as important as your intentional use. Two ways you can help your body still include actively honing in on your physical senses through activities such as:
- Aromatherapy – The sense of smell holds a great deal of power over our brain and how it functions. Utilizing aromatherapy you can choose the way in which you trigger relaxation. Utilize calming oils such as lavender or bergamot, clary sage or sandalwood. Take time setting up your aromatherapy, focusing on how you arrange the diffuser or candle, engaging fully with the scent, touch, and sight of the process. Take deep breaths using a box breathing method and intentionally let your shoulders relax.
- Hydrotherapy – soaking in a hot tub is a way to engage your full body in stillness. Shown to relieve both muscle tension and reduce cardiovascular stress, this method of therapy submerges both the torso and lower body, provides a sensation of physically lessening weight, and allows for a dedicated time where you can be free of electronic devices or interruptions. When taking a soak, adding ambient cues such as candles or calming aromatherapy can deepen the relaxation practice.
- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) – this technique can be done anywhere and in any allotted time. Whether trying to go to sleep for the night, take a breath between meetings, or soaking in a hot tub, you can practice PMR to intentionally relax your full body. To begin, check the tension level in each part of your body. Start at the top of your and relax the forehead, then unclench the jaw, let the neck release followed by the shoulders, and continue to work all the way down the body.
If prevention sounds like a lovely concept for next year but you’re currently in the thick of it, discovering how to mitigate the effects of severe stress can help you in the here and now as well as prevent further damage to your health.
The key to effective mitigation is to leverage small actions that have the biggest calming effect on your body.
Jumping into high-intensity or energy-demanding commitments will overwhelm your already overwhelmed system – even if they are things you’d typically enjoy doing.
Instead of returning to your standard 5k, having a conversation with family, or doing a juice cleanse, consider some low-energy/high-impact alternatives.
- Gentle Movement – slower, low-impact physical activities are not only wonderful for stress relief they have an added benefit of restarting stalled metabolism for many people. Whether it’s activities at home utilizing your Swim Spa, or practicing gentle yoga, or getting out into a calming atmosphere and taking a nature walk – the activity should leave you feeling calm, your muscles warm, but your body relieved and not taxed.
- Counseling – especially when stressors have taken their toll it is important to have a knowledgeable, trusted voice in life. Counselling now takes on all forms, from chat support, phone calls, video conferencing, in-person sessions, art or movement therapy – there are so many options and opportunities to engage with someone who can find just the right way to untangle that stress.
- Introduce healthy habits – forming a healthy habit is often attempted with force and great determination. When you are sapped by stress it’s important to take care of holistic physical health but starting something new is too daunting. Take the same approach of gentle movement and apply that to your area of choice. Instead of a complete diet switch, add one healthy item a day. Instead of a complete cleanse, organize your medicines so that vitamins are easily accessible and hard to forget. Instead of starting pilates, stretch your fingers and toes with awareness. Lasting change can happen from the very smallest of starting points, so start small.
Caring for Yourself
Last but not least is care defined by you. Still your body, slow your mind, and ask yourself what you need. If this is difficult for you but you enjoy caring for others, consider how you would care for someone else in your situation.
Once you have an idea, put it into action. You are worth taking care of. Start early with prevention, keep it up always with meditation, and utilize the tools available for mitigation. You can not only relieve stress this season but keep yourself in balance all year.
Relieve Stress with Red Rock Spas
If the idea of soaking in a hot tub or taking a swim in your very own backyard sounds like the ideal stress relief in your life we would be honored to help find the right fit.
Red Rock Spas is a trusted dealership of at-home hot tubs and swim spas and offers everything you need by way of maintenance and repair services to keep your experience stress-free.
Visit us online and when that hot tub maintenance reaches the top of the to-do list we’ll be here to help.