While most of us love many things about the holiday season, it can also be a time of extra busyness and stress. Whether you are planning a trip or hosting friends and family in your own home, sometimes we need a “vacation after our vacation” or simply some time to ourselves to fully relax and recharge before we start the new year and get back to our everyday lives.
Here are seven great ways to decompress after the holidays—or any time:
Meditation is widely known to reduce stress and help improve our moods, among many other benefits to our brains and bodies. According to the Mayo Clinic, spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. Check out Gaiam's tips for getting started with meditation. There are also some great meditation apps that are helpful for beginners through experienced practitioners.
Exercise is also one of the most doctor-recommended and widely accepted ways to combat stress. Activities that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups, such as walking or jogging, can be particularly helpful when it comes to relieving stress. Healthline.com recommends trying to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.
3. Get outside.
Getting outside—even on cloudy winter days—has been shown to help combat seasonal depression, and is widely shown to boost our moods, increase energy, and even improve productivity. Whether it’s playing fetch with your dog, taking a quick stroll over lunch, or going for a hike, try to make time to experience the outdoors and your mind and body will thank you!
4. Take a technology break.
Technology helps us in many ways, but it can also add stress and be detrimental to our health in many ways. Because the blue light emitted from digital devices can increase stress by impairing sleep, try to avoid using devices two hours before going to bed every night. And if you want to go further, consider taking a mini-vacation from technology or one of these other ideas for how to take a technology break.
5. Stand up.
Long periods of inactivity can lead to a host of physical and emotional problems, including increased stress from sitting. That’s why, in addition to getting regular exercise, it’s important to be aware of our inactivity levels throughout the day too. In other words, don’t sit for long periods of time even if you plan to go for a run later. Stand up and move around, even if it’s just a few minutes, every 1-2 hours or more if you can.
6. Play music.
Listening to music can be a great way to reduce stress as it has a relaxing effect on our minds and bodies—especially slow, quiet classical music. But whether you’re a music enthusiast in general or have a more select taste in the type of music you enjoy, it’s likely you can find something to listen to that will help in times of stress. While you may not want to keep it on all the time, incorporating music into your daily life can help reduce stress in every season
7. Get more sleep.
Sleep deprivation can impact our body's de-stressing ability, and it negatively affects our health in many ways. Getting to bed at a reasonable and similar time every night—and getting more sleep overall—is a great way to reduce stress in our daily lives. Check out these tips for how to rest your way to less stress, and make sure you get as much sleep as possible during and after the holidays, and year-round!