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Your Holistic Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday

November 19, 2019

If you’re feeling the stress of the season, try these tools for a calmer—and happier—mind, body, and soul.

While the holidays are supposed to be a time of relaxation, love, and fun, there is no denying that they can take it out of us, too. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA), 44 percent of women say their stress levels are higher than usual from the period around Thanksgiving through the end of the year.

Whether we are concerned about cooking, shopping, hosting, traveling, cramming work in before taking time off, being alone, or being with relatives, prolonged anxiety can leave us emotionally drained, with our nerves frazzled and our immune systems weakened.

So take a deep breath, and worry no more, because we have a whole lot of tools to help you find some peace of mind this season.

A Relaxing Breath

A few deep belly breaths can bring the nervous system back into balance. But if you’re starting to feel anxiety build, try Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) during the day. This breathing technique reduces stress and anxiety, and helps balance hormones.

A Calming Yoga Posture

Forward bends are a great way to calm the nervous system, and Paschimottasana is a go-to posture for when anxiety builds. It settles the nerves, helps provide relief from migraines, and it’s also great for blood flow (especially if traveling by plane).

A Healing Crystal

Black tourmaline is your best friend when you’re feeling spaced out or anxious. It’s a protector stone that wards off evil spirits and negative thoughts. It connects whoever is wearing it to the Earth, putting us back in our bodies. Black tourmaline is also a great soother for travel anxiety. Keep a piece in your pocket or bag, or hold in your hand for an extra calming boost.

A Meditation on the Root Chakra

When you’re all up in your head, and you get outside with nature, it’s a base chakra meditation you need to root you down into the earth. Meditation teacher Lisa Erickson offers a 15-minute base chakra meditation here that will help bring you back into your body, and back in touch with your heart.

An Essential Oil for Sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential when we’re stressed, but with the mind racing it can be hard to fall asleep. Try using lavender oil before bed to help calm the body, and prepare it for rest. In addition to adding a couple of drops to a bath, yoga teacher Nancy Ruby recommends mixing a couple of drops with lotion, or rubbing the oil into the feet, and taking a legs-up-the-wall posture 15 minutes before bedtime.