Christmas can be a stressful time of year, so here are seven simple ways to relax during this hectic season.
If you find your stress levels rising around this time of year, you’re definitely not the only one. Preparing for the big festive celebrations, bad weather, winter illnesses – they all can make your stress levels rocket.
But there are some simple steps you can take to help yourself relax. Here are my tips to help make your winter stresses melt away:
Light a fire
There’s something very relaxing about gazing into the flame of a candle. It’s no surprise that it’s a popular form of meditation.
I love scented candles and always like to swap to warmer, spicier scents throughout the winter months. But if you’re going to light candles around your room, be sure to add in some unscented ones as well. That way, the fragrance won’t become overpowering!
And if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, why not light a fire at the end of the day to make it feel even more cosy and welcoming?
Or if you have access to a garden and the weather is dry, why not wrap up warm, head outside and light a fire in a chiminea or firepit. A glass or two of mulled wine would make it even more perfect.
Whatever I’m stressing over always seems less of a problem once I head off for a walk by the canal with my dog. So unless it’s really terrible weather (freezing cold or pouring with rain), I try to get outside at least once every day throughout the winter months.
There’s something very invigorating about a walk on a crisp frosty morning. And getting outside in the fresh air is pretty much guaranteed to ease stress and lift your spirits.
All you need is a comfortable pair of boots or shoes, and a good raincoat and hat in case the weather turns bad!
Change your surroundings
Even if you try to get outside for a walk each day, you’re probably going to spend a lot more time indoors during the winter compared to the summer months. And everyday clutter can easily start to add to your stress levels when it’s in front of you every day.
So why not put aside some time for a good declutter or rearrange your rooms?
You might not feel like doing a complete bedroom makeover but even just adding some cushions and throws in rich, velvety fabrics can make your room look cosier.
You knew I was going to suggest this, didn’t you?
As well as helping to boost your physical health, exercise is a great way to release stress. The endorphins released during and after exercise can give you a real lift!
But don’t think that means you have to run a 5k or head to the gym to pump iron. Of course, those are both great options if that’s what you enjoy. But if not then why not try a game of tennis, a family bike ride, or a fun Zumba class.
Anything that gets your heart rate up and raises a sweat will help to raise your mood as well.
Take a Bath
This suggestion is a bit more laid back than the last one!
You may not be able to spare the time or money for a day at a luxurious spa, but you can bring the spa into your own home.
One of my favourite ways to relax is to run myself a deep bubble bath. Add some gorgeous scented bubbles, a few candles, a good book and maybe a glass of wine, and I can feel my stresses soaking away.
And while you’re there, why not pamper yourself a bit more with a face mask or a hair treatment?
Write it down
Do you feel like you have a lot going around in your head?
Getting your thoughts down in writing is a good way to help to ease your stress. It could take the form of a hand written journal, an email to a trusted friend, or even starting your own blog.
And if you’ve got a long list of things to do (and who hasn’t at this time of year?) then writing them down can really help you to prioritise.
You can also help to keep a positive frame of mind by writing a regular gratitude list. Thinking of the positive things in life can help to put your worries in perspective.
Find your zen
The key to relaxing at this stressful time of year is to find one or two ways that really work for you. We’re all individuals, and we all find different ways to relax.
For some that may mean plugging in their headphones and really hitting the treadmill. Others may like to spend the evening playing their favourite music and losing themselves in a good book.
Whatever your favourite relaxation method is, it’s important to find time for regular relaxation. So try scheduling in some time for relaxation, just like any other important appointment.
The weeks leading up to Christmas can easily be the most hectic and stressful time of the year. And you may feel as if your life is just too busy to take time to relax. But scheduling a little time for yourself is key to keeping your stress levels down, and that’s vital for good health.