by Erica Garza
Among popular secular Christmas songs is one that says of the season, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” For some people, though, it’s the most stressful time of the year.
According to a survey conducted by Healthline, sixty-two percent of respondents described their stress level as “very or somewhat” elevated during the holidays. The survey also showed that some of the top causes of “festive stress” were the financial demands of the season, negotiating the interpersonal dynamics of family, and maintaining personal health habits. If the holidays tend to stress you out, practicing self-care is a way to stay calm from the minute you put the turkey in the oven to the final countdown to the New Year. Here are six self-care ideas to start practicing now.
1. Stay Active
With all the cooking, cleaning and shopping you have to do, making it to the gym may be the farthest thing from your mind, but it may also be your most powerful weapon against holiday stress. Exercise releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals our body produces, which can naturally reduce stress. Staying active is also a good way to recover from the stress eating commonly associated with the holidays, and it can help you release some built-up frustration if that annoying family member shows up this year.
2. Don’t Skimp on Sleep
When you’re stressing about your shopping list (or bank balance) you may find it difficult to fall asleep, but don’t put off good sleep until next year. Getting a good night’s rest reduces stress and keeps your immune system strong, which may help you beat holiday stress before it starts. To banish worries from your mind, make a list before bed of your holiday to-do’s, like presents you need to buy or events you need to prepare for. Be sure you power down electronics and resist another sugary treat or coffee before hitting your pillow so you can improve sleep and stay asleep longer. You may even find that aromatherapy or CBD improves the quality of your sleep.
3. Find Time to Laugh
The holidays can sometimes trigger unhappy memories. Fight back with laughter. Laughter has been scientifically-proven to help you process stress and make you feel more relaxed, thanks to endorphins. So watch a funny movie, listen to a hilarious podcast, or spend some time with your funniest friend.
4. Have Sex
Like laughing, sex also releases feel-good chemicals, which can do wonders for your holiday stress. You may also find that you and your partner are not spending as much time catering to each other as you are catering to your other family members and friends. Reconnecting will help pull you out of the holiday craziness for a while and remind you of the other good stuff in your life.
5. Get a Massage
All that running around and gift-giving can leave you feeling depleted, but a spa day can help you bounce back. Getting a massage is a great way to step away from the crowds and the kitchen and get back to yourself. You might also consider incorporating CBD into a self-massage treatment, which will loosen tight muscles thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Try Releaf Body Oil or Hemp Balm for targeted comfort. Think of it as an investment in your holiday sanity.
6. Take CBD
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating appetite, sleep, immunity and mood. Studies show that CBD can provide natural stress relief without psychotropic effects. Try Papa & Barkley’s CBD Capsules or Drops for daily comfort throughout the hectic holiday time. And if you can’t make it to that massage appointment, give yourself a self-massage with Hemp Balm, because being stress-free is the best gift you can give yourself this year.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.