Holiday Stress Relief with Natural Remedies

From a stress-relieving diet to relaxing aromatherapy options, there are many natural ways to relieve and even prevent holiday stress, be it a shopping-induced headaches or a New Year’s hangover.

  • Holiday stress
    Let the holidays bring out the best in you rather than get the best of you — try natural stress remedies and have a happy holiday season.

  • Holiday stress

It seems that this time of year, there’s often as much stress in the air as there is holiday cheer, if not more. From frightful weather to last-minute shopping and jam-packed schedules, it’s not hard to go from feeling jolly one moment to overwhelmed the next.

So what to do? It turns out there are simple ways to have a low-, or at least lower-, stress holiday season, and do so naturally. To help you with your natural stress relief and prevention this season, here are a few ideas culled from the pages of MOTHER EARTH NEWS and its sister magazine The Herb Companion.

Get Stress Relief Naturally With (the Right) Foods

The evidence that healthy eating habits and good nutrition are important for more than just general physical health keeps growing, and, among other things, it turns out that they can play a big role in relieving stress. In Natural Stress Relief: Food and Supplements , health expert Michael Castleman provides three simple suggestions for using food — in a healthy way — to promote a less stressful life: 

  1. Focus on basic nutrition: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and include a daily multivitamin and/or mineral supplement.
  2. Eat (some) carbs, such as whole wheat crackers or bread: Carbohydrates simulate the release of brain chemicals that promote relaxation.
  3. Try decaf: Caffeine can make you feel high-strung and more likely to snap. Rather than cutting out regular coffee or black tea all at once, try gradually cutting back and switching to decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas. 

Herbs can also help you keep an even keel. Try teas made from chamomile (brew 2 to 3 teaspoons per cup of boiling water), hops (half a teaspoon per cup), passionflower (1 teaspoon dried leaves per cup) or catnip (1 to 2 teaspoons per cup). 

Create a Calming Environment

From sounds to scents, your environment is one of the easiest tools you can use to become more relaxed. Try listening to soothing music — and not just at home. Listen at work and on the bus or in the car. Play it in the kitchen or in the living room during the evening, rather than watching less-soothing television programming.

As for nosing your way to relaxation, aromatherapy is popular and effective for relieving anxiety and stress naturally. Add a few drops of an essential oil to a bath, or, for a more portable option, put some rock salt in a vial and then add a few drops of essential oil to the mix. Keep a cap on the vial, and when you’re ready to decompress, remove the cap and breathe in the scent deeply. Oils of basil, lavender, anise, peppermint and thyme are all good choices.

12/21/2009 8:59:14 AM

What? Nothing about flower essences to beat holiday stress?? Flower essences are NOT the same as essential oils or aroma therapy. They are unscented and unflavored, containing only the vibrational energy of what they are made from. Here's an article I wrote for Vibration Magazine about essences to help get you through the holidays:

Dawn Pfahl
12/20/2009 3:51:21 PM

My biggest holiday stressor is money, so to avoid that stress during the shopping season, I try to plan ahead. I list out all my usual paychecks and bills and plan ahead to make sure I have enough to pay off December and January's bills in advance. Once that's settled I can divide the rest of the money into amounts to spend for each person on my list (and it's a VERY small list!). If I am really hurting for cash I de-personalize the gifts. A dollar-store mug or basket for each person with a handful of winter items (candies, a pair of socks or gloves), a hot cocoa packet and a peppermint stick or similar treat costs less than $50 for my entire small family, and can be spiced up with homemade cookies, ornaments or other little favors. If you are crafty you don't even have to buy the containers - you can make your own out of repurposed cartons, or weave little paper baskets for lightweight gifts. All of these ideas require some time and preparation, but hand-making gifts and budgeting beforehand is an easy way to reduce stress and use something you enjoy (crafting) to turn the season of stress into a season of smiles.

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