Mood-Boosting Helpers to Stress Less This Holiday
By Jack Lackey
This time of year is meant to be full of holiday cheer, but sometimes the festivities can cause a great deal of stress instead. Between monitoring spending, staying healthy and navigating time spent with family, “ho ho ho” can easily become “no no no.”
These healthy hacks and nutrients may help you find a little more peace of mind to keep your holiday season merry and bright.
Rock Around the Christmas Tree
Whether it’s dancing, a walk around the neighborhood or even getting a quick workout in, squeezing some physical activity into your day is a fun and healthy way to relieve stress. Exercise helps your body produce more neurotransmitters called endorphins, which promote a positive attitude.1
Not only does moving more physiologically help you reduce stress, it can also just simply take your mind off things for a bit. Along with a mood boost, regular exercise can also support immune function—win-win, right?2
If you’re feeling tense emotionally, chances are your muscles and joints may feel the same way. Try a relaxing warm bath or hot shower, or even try a hot compress on your neck, shoulders or wherever you may “hold” your stress.
You can also try progressive muscle relaxation and pair this practice with some mood and joint support for some added wellness benefits. Yoga is another method to gain some flexibility while stretching out trouble areas. A little less stress on the joints may go a long way for the mind and overall stress levels.3
Many of us have holiday traditions or memories that just feel like home. Most of the time those memories can be triggered by familiar scents which may help calm the mind. Whether it’s home-baked goods that make your space smell like home or diffusing some of your favorite essential oils, aromatherapy may help you feel more at home and at ease.
Make Self-Care a Priority
It’s usually tradition to give back regardless of which holiday you celebrate but be sure to also do something nice for yourself. If you need a break from the crowd, take a 15-minute break and find a quiet spot to collect your thoughts.
Take opportunities to buy yourself something you enjoy or pair a mood-booster with a spa day or meditation session. If you’ve been doing holiday shopping and just feel drained, nourish and replenish your body with B vitamins and try recharging with a 20-minute nap. Checking in with yourself and taking some “me time” is just as important as giving back to others.
Throw the Ball or Get Creative
Spending time with a furry friend is both an enjoyable and rewarding way to promote emotional wellbeing, plus who doesn’t love a game of fetch? Animals have been human companions for centuries, and the reason why makes sense. Animals just help us feel better, even to the point where facilities offer canine or equine therapy for improving mental health and stress relief.4
If you don’t own a pet, you can always try new hobbies or do something that helps you find your center. Some love fishing, others like to read—whatever your preference is, do what makes you feel calm. Adult coloring books are one of the easiest ways to slow down and decrease stress levels, especially patterns like a mandala.5 For an extra-festive touch, throw on some of your favorite holiday tunes or light a candle for some hygge ambiance.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy What Magnesium Supplement is Right for You, or this Intro to Meditation. Be sure to also sign up for our Swanson Health newsletters to stay in the know on all of our new articles and promotions.
Jack Lackey, Swanson Staff
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. (2020, August 18). https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
2. Nieman, D., Wentz, L. (2018, November 16). The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005
3. American Psychological Association (2018, November). Stress Effects on the Body. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress/effects-musculoskeletal
4. Young C, Horton J. Canine and Equine Therapy for Mental Health: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; August 30, 2019.
5. Curry, N. A., & Kasser, T. (2005). Can coloring mandalas reduce anxiety?. Art Therapy, 22(2), 81-85.