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Relieve Holiday Stress: 10 Ways - Mostly Free!

Updated on November 8, 2011
Laugh - and relieve stress!
Laugh - and relieve stress!

Tips for Relieving Stress

Stress may begin for some of us with Thanksgiving when family gets together, then continues with the crazy shopping of Black Friday, then the Christmas season, followed by New Year's and resolutions that we won't keep (an added stress by February). And debt which goes on and on.

Stress affects each person differently and the effects can have emotional or physical consequences, or both. If you refuse to vow to do less, then make some changes right now by getting enough sleep, avoiding too much caffeine and not taking stimulants.

Then incorporate some of the following stress relievers - many are free and can be done immediately:

1 - Deep Breathing - Start now by breathing deeply - deeply from the abdomen which allows your lungs to take in more oxygen. The more oxygen you take in the more excess lactate and carbon dioxide will be quickly removed from your body. This will help you, right now, relieve many of the effects of stress.

2 - Sing a Song - Singing a song or listening to music gets both halves of the brain synchronized. Singing helps increase deep breathing and increases serotonin, a mood stabilizer.

3 - Roll Your Eyes in A Circle - Do this by closing your eyes and moving clockwise for 30 seconds then do the opposite for 30 seconds. This will stimulate the connections between the two hemisphere's of the brain. This short-circuits the body's stress response because the brain and your eyes are so closely connected.

4 - A Good Soak - in the tub. A 10 minute soak will do it. Adding Epsom salts makes it even more relaxing because it is filled with magnesium, a natural sedative and DHEA which stimulates the youth hormone. Use one cup for every 60 pounds of body weight.

5 - Alternative Medicine - Herbs used in alternative medicine offer stress relief without side effects. Often used are St. John's wort, chamomile, kava kava and valerian. (see link below for alternative healing ideas as well as herbal teas)

6 - Laughter - Use laughter (as the best medicine) to relieve stress. Laughter has been shown to decrease blood levels of the stress hormone known as cortisol Laughter increases blood levels of endorphins - known to soothe the mind and help relieve pain. Laughter also activates the immune system. Even a fake laugh has the same benefits. Laughter is recognized as a legitimate cure for illness - see the link below for humor therapy.

7 - Mindful Meditation - Mindful meditation is the act of being fully engaged in the moment. It is an effective way to reduce stress and helps eliminate worrying about what will happen in the future - or dwelling in the past. Mindful meditation can be done with a body scan which requires that you focus on your body, or engaging in mindful eating by focusing on and enjoying food, or walking meditation which requires that you be aware of every step you take.

8 - Practice Yoga - For more than 5,000 years, yoga has been practiced in India to help relax the body and mind. By assuming certain yoga postures different endocrine glands are put on alert, by doing the breathing exercises you will help free the flow of energy in and out of the body, and by engaging in the required meditation you will help your mind lose its focus on stress. Yoga will provide a natural counterbalance to stress.

9 - Change Your Diet - Healthy whole foods will boost the immune system and neutralizes free radicals in the body that cause damage. Beneficial foods to eat now includes fruits like oranges, mango and tomatoes, and vegetables like spinach and broccoli. Dark chocolate (never milk chocolate) is a stress reliever because it contains magnesium - a natural tranquilizer. An ounce and a half per day will do it. (See links for some healthy eating suggestions).

10 - Acupressure - Apply pressure to the webbing between your thumb and index finger. This is an acupressure point that will send a rush of feel-good endorphins throughout your body. Start with your right hand for 15 to 30 seconds, then do your left hand. You can do this anywhere and even right now.

Enjoy your holidays!

See other healthy living suggestions below:

Reducing Holiday Stress

Are you finally going to do less for the holidays?

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    • profile image

      JO 6 years ago


      Great hub...........thanks.......

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      I love St. John's wort supplements! I'm currently on a regimen that includes St. John's wort and Evening primrose oil and have been feeling really good as of late.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, it's funny that you should mention singing, because that is what I have started to do when I have got stressed! mind you my voice is much to be desired but hey, it has the desired effect! lol and tends to clear a room very quickly! but seriously, I didn't know about the brain connection and the rolling of the eyes, I shall have to try it, thanks nell

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 7 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      I'm so glad I found this hub. You've given some excellent advice on releiving stress, thanks

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks so much for the lovely comments...and tips like drink a whole lot which is actually quite common. Yes, let's not try to do everything for everyone.

      And sure have some chocolate - real easy.

      Love all the comments. I'm on my way out to visit for a few restful relaxing days. We'll order out - yay!And I will lay around!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      You have great information. I love this so much. I believe we all glad to follow your tips. It's really useful for us. Everything make us happy, that's a natural medication to reduce stress. Thank you very much. Rating up!


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Great points - and if those don't work, drink a whole lot...only kidding of course. I think the key to de-stressing the holidays is to just not try so hard to make them 'perfect'. If you just do the best you can and leave it at that, it's all gravy. Of course this comes after decades of acting like Santa on acid!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago

      Any list that recommends chocolate deserves a thumbs up! :)

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 7 years ago from Minnesota

      Great tips. I did acupuncture once, and I didn't find it helpful but my friend tried it as well and said it made a huge difference so it seems to depend on each individual person.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Oh these are perfect! I do most of these so I must be doing something right! I got really excited with the eye-rolling until I read you are suppose to do it with your eyes closed. Darn! lol Great tips here!

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 7 years ago

      Great suggestions for relieving stress.

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 7 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      Wow! The prices are right on - free! And I can do most of these now - so easy and healthy. Thanks a million. And all the holiday stress - no, not for me anymore. I'm doing things my way on my terms. I think many of us are getting tired of this holiday stuff where women knock themselves out when we should be relaxing and putting our feet up. Enough with the consumer nonsense too. It's all junk waiting to be recalled.

      Thanks for the tips. We all have stress even if it's not due to the holidays. Rated up!