My Gift to You: Ways to Relax This Holiday Season
Updated: Nov 30, 2019
There are people out there who truly love everything about the holiday season. I am not one of those people. I'll give you the twinkle lights, velvet everything, and abundance of champagne, but I'm just not feelin' it. I think I have a small case of PTSD fro my stint in mall retail and the holidays just make me tense! Throw in travel and songs with children singing in them and you've hit my anxiety trifecta. My priority this holiday season is to take care of me, and my gift to you this holiday season is a few of my treat-yo-self-tips!
I don't want to toot my own horn, but I am the friggin' queen of relaxing - as anxious as I am. It helps that I'm lazy AF, but I think a lot of people simply don't know what to do with themselves when it comes time to chill out. If you've already got a busy mind or tend to prefer to keep busy, the idea of relaxing can cause anxiety itself!
I find that a great way to slow down a racing mind is to do something with your hands! Switching up your focus is key to relaxation. One of my personal favorites is henna. Every time I do a design, I'm so focused on the lines and repetition that there's no room for thoughts of my to-do list or hectic days ahead. I'm totally zen. If skin isn't your canvas of choice, may I suggest an adult coloring book? When you're concentrating on staying in the lines, your troubles will melt away - but be careful, because time probably will too. My personal favorite is this "Eat a Bag of Dicks" version. Take a page from this book and Calm Ur Tits! If art isn't your style, getting your hands dirty and gardening is a very beneficial distraction. Connecting with earth is very grounding, and adding a little extra life into your home can be so refreshing, especially in the winter!
If you're looking to relax a little deeper, an excellent way to unwind is by treating yourself to a meal in bed. Surround yourself with soft cozy textures. Slip into something a little more comfortable. You don't need a gourmet meal to feel VIP when you've immersed yourself in coziness. I mean, I heated up a piece of pizza and some coffee and still felt like a damn queen. Being on a sensory overload like that is definitely a distraction from whatever happens to be plaguing my mind at the time, and I'm willing to do it as many times as it takes! [Try these pilllow covers, socks, this blanket, and throw out!]
Ok, so at this point your mind is more at ease, but are you ever truly relaxed if you're not soaking in hot water? That's right, it's bath time baby. Now ideally, my hot water is in a hot tub with a mountain view. But I'm not in that situation nearly often enough, so I settle for my bath tub. I like to foam it up with some bubbles courtesy of Dr. Teal's. I opt for the Himalayan Pink Salt so I can get the benefits of an epsom salt bath while I'm at it! To kick this moment with myself up a notch, I like to slather on a face mask! The one pictured is a purifying Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud mask. With my dirty job, it gets a lot of use. Light a candle, pour yourself a drink, and float away on the bubbles. Relaxation perfection.
If you're reading through this and find that none of these tips trip your relaxation trigger, fear not! It probably takes a lot for your to wind down and a more physical exercise is likely to help shift your focus. When was the last time you paid attention to your breathing? 9 times out of 10, when I'm stressed and I asses my breath, I question if I had even been breathing at all! Shallow breathing inhibits your body's natural processes, stressing you physically. Add the mental stress you've been inflicting upon yourself and pretty soon your holidays are a ho-ho-no! The remedy is simple. Breathe! Start things off with this simple breathing exercise:
Sitting comfortably, put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and push your hand out with your belly. Your chest should not move.
Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feeling the hand on your belly, use it to gently push all the air out.
Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath, and notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
If you want to explore that zen feeling further, I highly suggest downloading a guided breathing and meditation app! Bringing attention to your body's vital processes will benefit you mentally and physically.
I'll absolutely be practicing these tips in the coming weeks, and I hope you find time to as well! I'd love to help alleviate some of this season's stress for you, and while I can't keep your nosy Aunt Carol from bombarding you with invasive questions about your personal life, I can at least arm you with some coping mechanisms.
Happy Holiday's Y'all.
Flowers by Posies and Pine