Happy Holidays from our family to yours! I hope that you are finding time to slow down and enjoy this beautiful season.

This time can be wonderful and overwhelming at the same time, with all the “to do’s”, gift buying, traveling, wrapping up work, social events, etc. Not to mention being surrounded by certain family members can bring up some touchy emotions. Let’s be honest, it’s a stressful time of year. It’s understandable that you may be feeling a little more tired than normal. I invite you to take a deep breath, and know that you are not alone.

With a little focus on self care, you can relieve stress and feel more calm. Here are some simple techniques that can help you cultivate more inner peace, joy and balance during this holiday season.

1. Deep breathing throughout the day
Breathing exercises are a great way to reduce stress and muscular tension, and promote oxygen delivery throughout the body and mind. Deep breathing helps to calm the nervous system, promoting clarity and relaxation. Set aside 5 minutes a couple times a day to take some deep breaths, the immediate benefits may surprise you. If you need guidance, the meditation app called “Insight Timer” is a wonderful resource.

2. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables
Fresh produce is a healthy source of vitamins and minerals that help the body’s organs function better. Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that support cell function, which can improve mood, energy levels, digestion, skin tone, and overall health. Aim to have 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and eat a wide variety of colors for even more heath benefits.

With the over abundance of foods and treats during the holidays, it’s easy to go overboard and then feel regret. Try being intentional about your portions and foods choices. You’ll feel much better about it later.

3. Get quality sleep (7-9 hours a night)
Sleep is needed for healing, mental function, physical performance, and well-being during the day. A good night’s sleep can affect not only your energy and mood for the next day but also for the following weeks.

One of the best ways to start making sure you get a restful night’s sleep is by setting yourself up with good sleep hygiene, relaxing 30-60 minutes before bedtime, and turning off electrical equipment (including your phone – buy a small bedside alarm click if needed). Aim for early and regular bedtime, and avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening.

4. Exercise (30 mins/day, 3-5x/week)
You’ve heard it a million times that exercise is needed for good health, and it’s so true. Exercise increases energy production on a cellular level, enhances circulation, stabilizes blood sugar, endorphins and hormone production. It can have a positive effect on physical endurance, mental/emotional health, strength, flexibility, and longevity.

Simple exercises that can have a profound impact are walking, hiking, yoga, low-impact cardiovascular exercises, swimming and biking. Some home work-out programs that I enjoy are Classical Stretch and Beachbody on Demand.

5. Take Epsom Salt Baths or Foot Soaks (2-3x/week)
Treat yourself to a relaxing bath or foot soak a couple times a week. It’s like going to the spa, but in your own home. Soaking in a warm/hot bath can improve circulation, lymphatic flow, calm down the nervous system, and relieve muscle tension. Instead of watching TV or looking at a device, try a bath instead.

Here’s the bath recipe:

  • 2 cups Epsom salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops of pure essential oils (lavender, eucalyptus, etc)
  • Fill up a bath tub or a foot soak basin, pour in all the ingredients and soak for 20 minutes. For a foot soak, the recipe can be cut in half.

I hope you can enjoy some time for rest and self-care this season because you deserve to feel your best. Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!