by Carrie Saum
This post was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Wean Green Glass and TLB sister site, Our Stable Table.
It’s the holidays. Enough said. In the midst of all the holiday chaos, you might find you’ve begun feeling frayed already. Here are seven ways to de-stress, relax, and nurture yourself while you nurture those around you.
Fill your home with sounds and smells you love. Do you love holiday music? Put together a playlist of your favorite tunes and hit. Holiday music might not be your thing, and that’s okay. You’re not alone. Make a playlist of your favorite songs from each year for the last 20 years instead, songs that connect you to a sweet memory or happy moment in your life. Invest in an essential oil diffuser and add lavender and chamomile essential oils, or fill your crockpot with plenty of water, a cinnamon stick and sliced orange to fill your home with warm, invigorating scents. Do everything you can to stay in your body and connect with your heartspace through sounds and smell. Make an extra effort to release your stress through laughter, and get your family in on it, too. (My favorite way to do this is with YouTube videos of babies laughing or kittens being ridiculous.)
Drink warm things. I know. This is so basic. But imagine you’re feeling cold, stressed, and mentally fuzzy. Now imagine a cup of your favorite hot beverage in your hand, the ritual of holding, smelling and feeling the steam kiss your face. It’s pretty wonderful, right? You’ll feel the warmth from your head down to your toes. Make green tea and your mental acuity might even return.
Rub your ears. Your ears are loaded with pressure points that connect to your entire body. If you do nothing else to relieve your tension, do this. In the car, during stressful interactions, in the middle of the chaos, you will find your stress level falling with each tiny stroke. Even better, have your partner do this for you and double the relaxation effect.
Get between the sheets. Create an intention to go to bed early, sleep in late, and enjoy your partner. Lose your clothes when you have the opportunity. Take advantage of extra family or friends around to get some time alone together. Ask your in-laws to get up with the kids one morning and take them to breakfast, or on a long adventure through the neighborhood while you cuddle alone in a quiet house. Skin-to-skin time releases blissful, magical endorphins. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, emotionally flooded, or disconnected, skin-to-skin contact with your partner can help bring those emotions down a few notches.
The same goes for your nursling. If you’re both over-stimulated from all the holiday commotion, take your wee one to bed with you and have a skin nap. Grandparents can get their cuddles in later, but nothing is more important than your bond with your tiny babe.
Pack in protein. Sugar and carby treats overflow every table, platter, bowl, and bag within reach this time of year. While enjoying these treats in moderation is totally fine for most folks, too much sugar turns some (many) of us into wild beasts. Mamas, it doesn’t have to be this way. Start the day off with a massive protein punch and get ahead of the sugar curve. Pastured eggs, almond butter, tofurkey, breakfast sausage, a leftover chicken leg or whatever protein source you can lay your hands on first thing in the morning will be a great way to help keep insulin levels stable and the sugar crazies at bay. Keep a bag of nuts in your purse to snack on so you don’t get too hungry. Nosh protein-heavy foods first at holiday gatherings and then decide if you want that sweet treat later.
Move for fun. Gentle yoga poses, stretching, burpees, or quick run around the neighborhood might be just what you need to reconnect to yourself. My personal favorite is a silly ragdoll, and my little guy loves it, too. We both end up giggling and happy.
Say it out loud. Family tension during the holidays…Eek! And ewww. Whatever unresolved frustrations and conflict you’ve carried through the year(s) only heightens during the holidays. Interactions with loved ones can feel strained and sticky when we leave things unsaid or incomplete. If you feel brave and it’s appropriate, talk about your conflicts and points of tension with that family member directly, kindly, and gently. If you’re feeling less brave or don’t trust yourself to say it well, say it to their picture. And make sure to say ALL OF IT, complete with wild gestures, a loud voice and colorful language. You don’t have to carry those energy-draining feelings around with you for another holiday season. Release the feelings, release the past, and move on. You’ll feel empowered and ready for a new experience on the other side.
For more ideas about how to stay healthy, well fed, and connected this Christmas, head over to Our Stable Table for our 10 Healthy Holidays.
What are your tips for taking care of yourself and distressing? Not just during the holidays, but year round?