Shopping. Traffic. Running around. In-laws. Parties. Deadlines. Pressure.
Yes, it can be the “most wonderful time of the year.” But for most of us, it’s also the most stressful time of the year.
And when you’re on the run trying to keep up with the madness, taking a few minutes for yourself is critical to ensure you don’t push your sanity over the edge.
Plus, keeping stress to a minimum is also important when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance. (When we’re stressed, our bodies produce a higher concentration of cortisol, which in turn boosts our appetites — especially for junk food — and ultimately increases belly fat). And if you allow yourself to get stressed and stay stressed, you could be sabotaging your own weight-loss success.
That’s why we’re highlighting 7 quick, easy, inconspicuous ways to de-stress during the holiday madness, things that take hardly any time at all but can (and should!) be done during this crazy-busy time of the year.
1) Buy some oranges and lime — and then smell them!
Wait, what? That’s right, sometimes it’s the simplest of things that can make us feel better. In this case, researchers found the scent of citrus boosts our mood and releases higher levels of the happiness hormone norepinephrine. So, yeah, no judgement if you want to carry around a little lemon wedge in your purse to whip out and sniff once in awhile. Perhaps this is another great reason to carry on the tradition of placing an orange in your stockings this year.
2) Take 30 seconds for a squeeze!
We’re not talking about a hug (although those are great, too)! We’re talking about that tiny little fleshy spot on your hand between your
thumb and index finger. Chinese medicine calls it the “hoku” spot, and squeezing it for just 30 seconds can bring down tension in your upper body and lower stress levels. (Seriously, try it! It works.)
3) Lick some honey.
Honey is nature’s purest sweetener. It’s a
lso tasty, will give you a quick boost of natural energy and has antioxidants that will keep your body healthy and strong. Plus, you can buy those easy-to-carry honey sticks (65 calories) and carry them around in your bag for whenever that 3 p.m. feeling comes on.
4) Eat a spicy meal.
Holiday meals are typically about rich, savory dishes (like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie). All the more reason to step outside the norm and chow down on some spicy food during all the chaos. Plus, researchers have found that spicy foods contain high levels of the substance capsaicin, a chemical that forces the brain to release endorphins. To sum it up, hot food = happy mind.
5) Take 30 seconds for another squeeze!
Now we ARE taking about a hug! Grab a loved one for an unexpected embrace. Hold on for more than a few seconds to show them how much you really care. It will bring a smile to both your faces in short order.
6) Pick a happy word that’s just for you.
If you could have this holiday season be about one thing, what would it be? Family? Kindness? Peace? Love? Whatever it is for you, write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in a place that’s easy accessible. When things start to feel overwhelming, pull it out and look at it to remind yourself of what you really want the holidays to be about.
7) Stop, take a deep breath and think of one thing that makes you happy.
It’s pretty cliché to say, “stop and smell the roses,” but that saying is so popular for a reason — it’s crucial to finding peace and calm in life, especially during the holiday season. Take 20 seconds out of each day (you can do that, right?), breathe deep and think a happy, positive thought. So tiny, yet so impactful.
We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and we wish you a peaceful, joyful, and hopefully low-stress remainder of the holiday season!
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.