The holidays are a wonderful time of year, some may even say the most wonderful time of the year ;o) But unfortunately they can be really stressful too. Busy schedules, traveling and trying to figure out what gift to buy that certain someone who already has everything can be really taxing. And don’t even get me started on the stress of finals! But you can’t let stress ruin the joy of the holiday season. Here are some helpful hints to relieve stress, naturally, during this crazy time of year:

holiday

1. Take a Bath

I love baths. One of my least favorite things about summer is that it is so stinkin’ hot and I can’t take my beloved baths. But it’s winter now and somewhat chilly (I live in Arizona, anything under 80 is considered chilly in my book) so baths are a-ok now! I can have the most stressful day ever, but give me a magazine and a bath (and perhaps a glass of wine) and I feel great.

If you haven’t tried epsom salts before, you need to go pick some up. They are super cheap (a pound bag for under $5), and all you need is about a cupful per bath. It is naturally high in magnesium which is great for soothing tense, tired or injured muscles.

I add a few drops of lavender essential oil while the water is running and lately I have been using EO’s Serenity Bubble Bath for extra lavender and bubbly-goodness.

2. Have a Cup of Tea

One thing that can really aggravate stress and anxiety is caffeine. So if you are someone who loves coffee or soda, remember that too much caffeine is not always your friend. You may want to try replacing coffee with tea, which is naturally lower in caffeine. Or, having caffeine-free tea instead.

I drink TAZO’s Calm Chamomile tea, and there are lots of other good chamomile teas out there too. Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and a natural relaxant. Unlike some other calming herbs, I don’t get sleepy from chamomile which makes it great for a daytime cup of tea. I give full credit to chamomile tea for keeping me (somewhat) sane while I studied for finals.

3. Read a Book/Magazine

Sometimes just taking 30 minutes to yourself to sit and read a book or magazine is enough to get your mind off of stress and worry. I love to light a candle too while I’m reading and relaxing.

Blissoma makes some awesome candles. I had been eyeing the Calm one for awhile so I finally bought it and love it! I also picked up the Peace one and really love it too – it has an earthy spiciness to it that is really relaxing. And of course, if you love lavender – then you will love the Calm one. AND, for the month of December, Blissoma is donating 15% of online purchases to the Earthdance Ferguson Farm School Youth Program and the St. Louis Area Foodbank. So you can give back during the holidays AND relax.

4. Use Aromatherapy

I’m telling you, aromatherapy works. Whether it is a candle, perfume or in a body lotion – scents have the ability to instantly calm and relax. Lavender is my go-to scent for stress, but others work well too – it just depends on which scent you like. You can mix a drop or two with oil or lotion for your body, mix with oil on your hair or use in an oil diffuser.

The Vitamin Shoppe just came out with a whole line of essential oils and carrier oils. I have been using their Moroccan Argan Oil with the Lavender Essential Oil and really like it. Sometimes argan oil can smell a little funky but this actually doesn’t really have a smell, which is nice. I love argan oil as a hand oil, it’s not too greasy and sinks in quickly. I added the lavender essential oil to it and now I have a wonderful hand and body oil that smells great and works great.

One important note about essential oils – you never want to use them full strength on your skin. Even though lavender oil (and other essential oils) smells amazing, you should never apply it directly to skin. Always dilute it with a carrier oil first!

I recently had the honor of meeting and chatting with Katie, the owner of Lotus Wei. She introduced me to her entire line and while lavender is usually my go-to for stress relief, I instantly fell in love with Joy Juice. I have the Energy Mist and Flower Elixir and love them both! The scent is so bright and fun, I honestly cannot imagine feeling stressed after a spritz of this. The fragrance is a mix of sweet orange and floral and something else in there that is lovely and honestly just makes me smile. And the Flower Elixir! This elixir is amazing. You can take 5 drops under the tongue, which tastes amazing (like floral honey), and you can mix it with drinks too. Ever since I first tried this, I’ve been taking drops throughout the day – yum! I might take some drops right now…

5. Remember what is important

And last, sometimes you just need to remind yourself of what is important. As you sit with a cup of chamomile tea, enjoying the scent of a candle nearby, think to yourself, is finding the perfect gift important? Not really. Is it important that your house is completely spotless before guests arrive? Not really. Is our family, friends and loved ones are so important. Sharing laughter and love is important. Remembering why we celebrate holidays to begin with is especially important.

family dinner

So take a deep breath, smile, and enjoy the holiday season! What do you do to relax during the holiday season?