Holiday Mental Wellness: Simple Steps to Recharge
By Brenna Hicks
Every holiday season, you shop for presents, prepare the house, host a celebration — and get worn out in the process. Join the club: According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of people say they don’t have enough time, and 55 percent say they fall short on energy.
Even though it’s probably the last thing you have time to do, it’s important to take a break to relax. By recharging, you’ll be able to accomplish even more. Plus, indulging yourself doesn’t require much time or money. Here are five quick and easy ideas to help you decompress and get a little peace amidst the chaos.
1. Indulge in a free massage.
Research proves that massages can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, but you’re short on time and money. The solution? Do it yourself. Do a mental assessment of your body to determine where you’re feeling pressure. Then, starting from the crown of your head and moving down to your feet, briefly tighten and release each area. Breathe deeply as you imagine the tension leaving your body.
2. Give yourself a mini-makeover.
Between caring for your family and managing holiday activities, you’ve barely had a chance to look in the mirror. But carving out 10 minutes to spruce up your appearance can do wonders for your confidence. Try playing up your favorite feature, such as swiping on a bold shade of lipstick or giving yourself a smoky eye. Keep tissues at hand to wipe away any excess — we don’t all get it right with the first try!
3. Play music.
The right tunes can ease stress and anxiety, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. Compile a few different playlists: an upbeat one for a mood boost, soothing tunes for decompressing and energetic songs for sluggish day. The next time you’re starting to drag, just push that play button.
4. Take a bath.
There is nothing like relaxing in a warm bath. Rather than taking a quick shower in the morning, allow yourself a 15-minute soak at the end of the day. To create a spa-like atmosphere, add bath salts or bubbles and bring in a favorite drink.
5. Phone a friend.
Venting to an understanding pal may be all you need to feel better, and research proves that talking to a friend can help dial down the pressure. Besides, laughing with a loved one will remind you that relationships are the most important part of this often-hectic season.
Photo: Corbis Images
Brenna Hicks is a licensed mental health counselor and play therapist in Tampa Bay, Fla. and has been featured on CNN and in the New York Times. She provides parenting advice and topics on her blog, TheKidCounselor.com and is currently completing her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of South Florida. For more information, visit BrennaHicks.com or Facebook.com/thekidcounselor.