How to remain stress-free during the festive season!
We all know that Christmas can be a very stressful time of the year. Most blogs and articles will tell you to be organized, plan ahead and start prepping for Christmas early. Of course if we all did this we would all be merrily getting ready for Christmas, but not everybody can be organized and sometimes things can go wrong. So what do we do in these situations? I have put together a few tips to help you wind down and remain stress free during the festive season. Happy reading and a happy festive season to you all from the Aposave team!
- Avoid caffeine
Ever wondered why we get stressed? Our body is embedded with a “fight or flight” system which takes over when we get stressed, and this releases a hormone called cortisol more commonly known as the “stress hormone” in public. Caffeine also raises our cortisol levels and lowers the “feel good hormones”, consequently, too much caffeine can cause your mood to drop and leave you anxious. It is best to avoid caffeinated drinks altogether and opt for a decaffeinated version during times of stress.
- Twinkle twinkle little BATH
A warm relaxing bath is going to be your secret sanctuary. If you are lucky enough to have a bathtub, make sure you make good use of it, especially during times of stress. Add some candles to set the scene, use bath bombs and flower petals to give yourself a real treat and don’t forget to play around with some aromas too. Aromatherapy can have a powerful effect on the mind - for example lavender is known for its relaxing properties. Other examples of aromatherapy oils are eucalyptus and ylang ylang, although there are many more.
- Get active
Meditation is the best form of exercise to help you relax. A good example is yoga. As yoga is becoming more and more popular, it has become easier to find classes near you. However, I understand that not everyone likes yoga and it is very important that you do the thing you love. Exercising in general, be it running, swimming or even just fast walking can have very positive effects on your health as well as reducing stress levels. Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that help reduce stress levels as well having many other benefits. You don’t need to spend hours a day exercising – waking up 30 mins earlier to meditate, walking to the station instead of taking the bus, cycling to the shops, swimming a few times a week or taking your dog for a walk are all examples of increasing your daily exercise levels.
- Avoid excessive alcohol
Alcohol is a definite no-no in times of stress due to its depressant properties. This means that it slows down the brain and the central nervous system, which contributes to the feelings of depression and anxiety. However, it is not always possible during the festive season, so if you are drinking alcohol just avoid drinking excessive amounts. Try and drink plenty of water throughout the time you are drinking alcohol to avoid dehydration and a hang over the next day!
- Breathe, breathe and breathe
Breathing comes naturally, we don’t even need to think about it, but there a some great techniques to help you calm down during times of anxiety. So what, if the Turkey is burnt or you forgot your father-in-law’s present – there is nothing you can do to change that, so just take a step back and breathe in steadily through your nose, try and hold your breath for a few seconds and breathe out steadily through your mouth. Repeat this until you feel a little calmer, this will send messages to your brain to calm down and it will regulate your blood pressure thus reducing stress levels.
- Put the kettle on
What’s a Brit’s solution to anything? Tea. Precisely, this is the solution for stress too. Everybody loves a gingerbread latte, but as mentioned early caffeine can alleviate your stress levels so go for something relaxing like chamomile tea. If you don’t like the taste of Chamomile, Jasmine tea is a good alternative. Stress can sometimes have adverse effects on the stomach, if you feel like you need a little TLC, peppermint tea may come to your rescue.
Most of the time, we tend to stress about what is yet to come. It is important to note that we can possibly reduce our stress levels significantly if only we master to live in the present and not worry about the future.
If you feel that you need the extra support or are feeling extremely anxious or stressed, please call our pharmacists for further advice and support.
Note: Herbal teas are not scientifically proven, please check with our pharmacist if you are in any doubt before ingesting them.