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7 Simple Practices to Manage Holiday Stress

​How to Enjoy More & Stress Less Over the Holidays

Holidays can be the best of times, and the worst of times. They can be filled with joy, wonder, tenderness and cheer.

But with all the shopping, rushing about, traffic jams, swirling emotions, over-amped expectations, financial worries, family obligations, missed sleep and missed exercise, it’s easy to hit overwhelm and succumb to stress.

Learn how to manage holiday stress -- enjoy more, stress less, feel better by doing what is really meaningful and tapping the power of adaptogens – special herbs for strength, stamina and stress relief.

7 Simple Practices & Herbs to Manage Holiday Stress

Fortunately, there are things you can do to handle stress and enjoy the holidays at the same time. When it comes to stress management, sometimes the simplest practices are the most powerful. These are not “tips” which you do once and forget about. They are elegantly simple practices to repeat over and over. Also, a very special class of herbs called adaptogens are scientifically proven to reduce stress, normalize cortisol levels, increase resilience and strengthen your entire neuroendocrine system.

​Try these simple practices & herbs. They work.

Take time for self-care and healthy treats during the holidays

Take time for self-care and healthy treats during the holidays

  1. Breathe. The ultimate of simplicity, the biggest challenge of this practice is to remember to do it. When you feel tensions rise, take 10 deep breaths. This super simple and super effective act can recalibrate your physical and emotional state. The holidays are a great time to begin or maintain a mindful meditation, focusing on each breath as you calm your mind. When you’re eating, take 3 mindful breaths between each bite.
  2. Practice Gratitude. Ok, you may have heard this a hundred times but it’s true: gratitude is a potent antidote to stress. Cultivating gratitude is one of the simplest practices creating a greater sense of emotional well-being, higher overall life satisfaction, and a greater sense of happiness in life. When stressors arise, try to think of 4 or 5 related things for which you are grateful. Challenging situations (and challenging people) become more bearable and less stressful.
  3. Simplify and Relax. Let go of pressures -- don’t try to do it all. If you’re feeling financial stress, don’t feel like you need to buy expensive presents. Reach out to loved ones with heartfelt holiday wishes – reminisce about favorite memories and create new experiences instead of buying “things.”  Who needs more things, anyway?  Share a healthy homemade treat, a caring conversation, or make art together. Some of the most meaningful gifts are love, attention and creativity.  If you can’t travel to see long-distance loved ones, do a Skype or FaceTime call.  Decorating? Do what feels good and no more. Also feel free to say “no” to invitations that leave you feeling pressed for time. Simplify, relax and focus on what is truly meaningful.
  4. Practice Self Care. Let winter days be a reminder to slow down. Indulge in self-pampering with your favorite ritual to unwind. Relax with aromatherapy, a hot bath, by meditating, dancing, or snuggling under the covers with a good book or video. Balance the outward-facing celebrations of the season by taking time to enjoy winter’s urge to slow down and go inward.
  5. Choose Healthy Activities. Some of the best holiday activities don’t require expensive tickets -- they take you into nature and get you out helping others. Enjoy the stark beauty of winter and the cycle of seasons by bundling up for a walk in a park, in the snow, in a forest, by a river or ocean – there is beauty wherever you are. Not only is a walk mood-lifting anytime, walking in cold weather helps you burn more calories as your body works harder to stay warm. And remember what the holidays are really about – participating in the community of humankind, whether it’s helping an elder or invalid, reaching out to a friend who’s going through hard times, wrapping presents for needy children, volunteering at a soup kitchen. By giving the gifts that money can’t buy, you can fill your heart with gladness, make the world a better place, and reduce stress, all in one.
  6. Create Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Holiday Treats. A lot of modern “traditional” holiday fare is full of processed sugar, high-glycemic carbs, inflammatory fats and artificial ingredients that can tank your energy and mood -- and pack on pounds! That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your favorite celebratory treats – just find healthier versions. To get started, Google “healthy versions of holiday favorites.” You’ll find lots of inspiration!
  7. De-stress with Adaptogens. Truly exceptional gifts of nature, adaptogens are rare and special herbs that help you adapt to stressors of all kinds. They help your body adapt to biological and psychological stress by helping balance your hormonal systems – particularly your adrenal system and cortisol. Adaptogens help you cope with stress effects of living in the modern world, giving you energy, focus, strength, restful sleep and a better overall mood.

Adaptogens are unique plants that help your body adapt, normalize and strengthen -- regulating your system up or down depending on what you need in the moment. Some of the best-known adaptogens include herbs and mushrooms: ashwagandha, astragalus, cordyceps, eleuthero (Siberian gingeng), holy basil (tulsi), ginseng (American and Asian), maca, reishi, rhodiola, shatavari, and schisandra.

Known as the great tonic herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, and the great rejuvenators in Ayurvedic medicine, adaptogens are non-toxic and can be taken daily for very long periods. Their stress-relieving and energy-boosting benefits accumulate over time, unlike caffeine and stimulates that can deplete your system over time. These remarkable gifts of nature can help de-stress your holidays, new year and beyond.

Take time over the holiday to be good to yourself and others. Golden Goddess Elixirs make great gifts for yourself and your loved ones! Wishing you Happy Holidays and a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Kitty Wells

Award-winning formulator, author and entrepreneur, Kitty Wells left Silicon Valley to follow her passion for botanical medicine and create Spice Pharm. She combines leading-edge science and ancient wisdom to create unique wellness products. She travels the globe studying and speaking on the art and science of spices and plants.

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