How to Unwind This Holiday Season

woman relaxing with a book and a cup of tea

December brings the holidays, that special time of year where you get to spend extra time with family and friends, participate in holiday activities like ice skating, sledding, and decorating the tree.

Even with all these things to look forward to, we can become stressed and overwhelmed with commitments and a full social calendar. There is no reason to let the holidays stress you out!

We’ve compiled some simple, yet overlooked tips to help you sleep soundly through all the holiday chaos.

  • Meditate: You don't need to take an actual class to meditate. Find a quiet spot, sit still and close your eyes. For five to ten minutes, focus on your breathing, positive thoughts, or something you enjoy. If you become distracted or lose interest, focus your thoughts back to your main focal point. When your heart and breathing become elevated due to stress, meditation helps you relax by centering and slowing them down.
  • Exercise: Exercise stimulates the body to release chemicals and endorphins that work to combat stress hormones like cortisol, which at high levels can harm your heart and lead to sleep and digestive problems. Aim for even a quick 10 minutes of power walking or other exercise as you go about your day.
  • Read: During the holidays we often spend more at home. Use this time to read a good book or reread one of your favorites. This can help to work your imagination and relax you.
  • Get some sunlight: Exposure to the sun stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which impacts many. To ease these symptoms, spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days.
  • Sip tea: Studies show that drinking tea, specifically black and green teas, may reduce your stress levels. These teas contain theanine, an amino acid that may lessen anxiety and encourage you to feel a sense of calmness.
  • Schedule ‘me’ time: The holidays are full of obligations and invitations, but remember it’s okay to say no. If you’re feeling overcommitted or overwhelmed, evaluate your plans and choose an event you’d like to skip. Give yourself the time to make your own plans or just stay home and relax. This can really help to cope with holiday stress.

Try these tips this holiday season and you’ll be sure to enjoy the time with family and friends while being well-rested each night.

Read more: Sleep Better During the Holidays.