It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Andy Williams must have had someone doing all his shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping and social commitments for him. Our patience can run pretty thin during this crazy time of the year. It is sometimes hard to find the joy of the season. As you are going about your holiday preparations, try these five easy, on-the-go stress relief tips. They are as easy as using your five senses.
1. Experience holiday music. Really experience it. As you are doing your holiday shopping, listen to the music playing in the mall, shops and markets. Hopefully, it won’t be “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” Music can be one of the best stress relievers. How can one not be soothed by the voices of Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby? Music can also conjure up the Christmas joys that were more prevalent when we were children. And better yet, sing along to the songs that you know. It doesn’t matter if you know all the words. You can always hum instead.
2. Enjoy the beauty of holiday decorations. Lights, trees, ornaments, wreaths and even the giant blow-up Santa Clauses on suburban lawns are all the visual treats of the holidays. When someone decorates their house or business for the holidays, it is a gift for all visitors and passersby to enjoy. So, do enjoy. Let the sparkling lights, dazzling ornaments, festive trees and blow-up Santa Clauses bring a smile to your face.
3. Feel the warmth of physical contact. People are naturally more affectionate during the holidays. We get holiday hugs from friends, family and coworkers. Hand shakes and good wishes are exchanged by everyone. Even for foes, the holidays bring out commonality as opposed to differences, embraces instead of bitterness. We get a handshake and a smile from our boss when all year we are ignored. Instead of being resentful about it, appreciate it. Thinking and expressing good cheer towards others will decrease your stress level tremendously. So, the next time you are at the market, put your arm around the bagger and wish him or he happy holidays.
4. Take in soothing aromas. The scents of the holidays are all around us. We cannot escape the pine fragrance of Christmas trees or the spicy smell of gingerbread cookies this time of year. Bayberry or cinnamon candles are other scents of the season. Researchers have found that certain aromas trigger our memories to surface. Perhaps the smell of fresh baked cookies reminds you of a pleasant childhood memory. Breathe in (deeply) those scents and let them take you away to your happy memories.
5. Taste the gift of seasonal delicacies. This stress relief tip is perhaps the easiest to use. There is no doubt that a huge part of the holidays is enjoying food. Yes, we will gain a few pounds. But, can you think of the holidays without getting together with family, friends, coworkers and feasting on holiday goodies? Many shops, businesses and your workplace are usually filled with treats to grab while going about your tasks. You may also receive a gift of food whether it be sweets, nuts or a bottle of wine from a friend or coworker. Savor the flavors and let them fill you with gratitude. Be grateful that you have more than enough food to enjoy and friends and family who care about you.
These holiday stress relief tips are all based on being mindful of the beauty of the season. You don’t have to do or have anything special to use them. You do have to slow down, be present and change your perspective. Use your mind and senses to destress and find joy. The holiday season will be over quickly, take advantage of the radiance and good cheer all around you.