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6 Easy Ways to Eliminate Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress. We all experience some form of it and stress often affects us mentally, physically and emotionally. Here are six easy ideas for eliminating the negative effects of holiday stress… and everyday stress, too!

Get Outside! Get outside and take a walk, a hike, a bike ride, a run or jog – walking the dog is also effective! We need fresh air to replenish our bodies with oxygen – it keeps the brain healthy too. There’s nothing like the distraction of being in the great outdoors, even if it’s just a stroll around your subdivision. Handy tools like the FitBit, iPhone iFit app and even an “old fashioned” pedometer track your progress, relieving mental stress as you see how many steps or miles you have accomplished this day.

Get Your Hands Dirty! Time to tackle those end-of-year gardening tasks, such as raking leaves, pruning, storing away garden trolls (you know you have them!). If the weather outside stops you cold, how about your indoor plants? Do they need to be repotted or thinned out? Not the gardening type? Grab some clay or play dough, or make bread dough and do some baking. Keeping your hands busy and seeing the results of your efforts is an easy way to eliminate stress.

Serve Others! Your local food pantry, rescue mission or animal shelter could use a donation of your time today. Serving others is fulfilling, and the action of helping others will benefit them and you on an emotional, mental and physical level. Not sure where to start? Check out Volunteer Match for volunteering ideas in your area.

Yoga is Om-Wonderful! OK, so maybe you’re not the outdoor exercise type (see idea #1 above) or there is a foot of snow outside your front door, you still have so many options! Yoga is available just about everywhere these days: a local studio, recreation or senior center and of course, on-line instruction is just a click away! Try Yoga dot Com or Gaiam TV offerings – note: some of the online yoga practice sites are free and some require you to purchase a pass. Namaste.

There are literally hundreds of other resources available on DVD, video or books and magazines. Another idea that is yoga-like is stretching. Public Television has some great programs such as Classical Stretch and there are PBS stations in every state. Check it out, especially wonderful if you prefer gentle exercise in your bunny slippers!

Ahhh Time – Get a Massage, Reflexology, Reiki, Aromatherapy! Nothing relieves the negative effects of stress like having a massage, reflexology or receiving a reiki treatment. Working directly on the body, feet, hands or ears, such as with massage or reflexology, relieves physical pain and tension which then positively calms the mental and emotional state as well. Aromatherapy is a therapy that addresses stress relief on all levels: mind, body and spirit. The chemicals in most essential oils are powerful benefactors of good health. A single essential oil such as Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is known historically to calm the mind and emotions and is excellent for skin and body care. Always use pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils and work with a qualified Aromatherapist to ensure safety considerations and guidelines are followed.

Our goal as wellness practitioners is to help you restore homeostasis (balance) in your body…and your mind and emotions will follow. Check out our excellent practitioners and offerings at Aurora Herbs and Bodywork where we provide the best in stress relief!

Meditate or Pray! Let your internal guide lead the way to eliminating holiday stress! Why does it work? When we pray, we are strengthening our relationship with our God, often seeking answers to questions, and engaging in a conversation with God. When we mediate, we are strengthening our relationship within ourselves, often also seeking answers to questions we may have. Whether you choose to mediate or pray, the desired result are often the same, which is to achieve deep peace and to create positive changes in one’s life. And, meditation and prayer can be done while you are engaged in any of the above ways to eliminate the negative effects of holiday (or any) stress, whether you are outside, working with your hands, serving others, enjoying yoga or experiencing a massage, reflexology, reiki or aromatherapy session!

© Beth Schroeder, CBP, CAT, NBCR, CCA; Certified Practitioner and Instructor can be contacted at Living Well Center for Health,

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