The holiday season is finally upon, which means it’s time to rejoice, eat, spend time with the family and, most importantly, relax.

Even when we’re trying our absolute hardest, taking a moment to forget about the daily norms and struggles of life can be a taxing endeavor. Staying positive and, moreover, feeling positive should come second nature to you, but in reality, is anything but the sort.

Holiday Stress: How You Can Relax The Mind & Body

If you’re concerned about the state of your mind and body during this holiday season, here are few simple ideas to consider implementing today:

  • Exercise

Without question, THE most crucial activity for finding your happy place.

When you exercise, your body releases neurotransmitters, which produce an antidepressant-like, euphoric high. The increase of oxygen to your brain and circulation of blood flow eases tension—both physically and mentally. Also consider that with the holidays comes the possibility that lots of baked goods and large meals will be served. Exercising it important not only for your mental well-being, but to avoid gaining those extra pounds around the holiday. A few extra pounds gained in December can take you a few months to work off!

  • Nurture yourself

Who says you shouldn’t spoil yourself? Get your favorite snuggly salon towel and head down to the nearest spa. Soothe muscle tension with a gentle massage or a hot bath, take a steam shower, and erase your mind for the day. Your body will thank you. Schedule relaxation times with a family member who you haven’t seen in a while. You will both appreciate the time spent together, and feel even more relaxed.

  • Be Grateful

Now this topic is surely more ambiguous than the previous two, but it’s imperative that you try to stay positive. Even if that means you have to fake it, staying positive and being grateful for the little things in life is crucial to making it through the holidays. To make things a bit more tangible, get yourself a journal and write down the things that bring you happiness, things that you’re proud of, and things you’re looking to improve.

  • Get a little Fresh Air

You’d be amazed to learn how spending a little time with Mother Nature can affect your mood. When you time, or when you’re feeling blue, take a walk outside and breathe in a little fresh air. Five minutes of time spent outside you provide with a days worth of advantages that will boost your attitude and give a “sunnier” perspective. Sure, the weather might not be absolutely perfect, but a night time stroll through the neighborhood can your blood flow a little bit, and make relaxing even easier.

  • Meditate

If you haven’t jump aboard the mediation train, now is the time to do so. Deep-breathing exercises such as mediation and yoga significantly affect your body’s brain chemistry—easing anxiety and promoting positive thinking. The more you practice at it, the more you’ll find serenity in your day. Whether it’s in the car, waiting in line at the bank, sitting on a plane or cooking a pie—there is no environment where you can’t concentrate on your breathing and find true relaxation.

  • Laughter is Key

Similar to exercising, laughing produces a similar effect that releases dopamine in the brain. A big belly laugh may only last a few seconds, by the “high” of that laughter can last over an hour. Laughter also lowers blood pressure, social anxiety and muscle tension. Of course, when you’re feeling blue, laughing is easier said than done; but with a little willpower, you can muster enough energy for a few second of giggling.

  • Make Me Time

Without question, one of the best parts of the holiday season is seeing family. However, no matter how much you may love him or her, there’s always that one family member that drives you crazy!

Make sure you have time to yourself throughout the holidays, especially if you’re traveling to a relative’s house. Some time spent curled up on the coach reading a book or doing some shopping alone can be great to help relax, and not let the in-laws drive you crazy!

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