6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

What can you do to reduce stress during the holidays? The Institute for Families and Nannies recently conducted an eye-opening self-care workshop for Nannies, where we discussed the effects of stress on the mind and body, and learned simple breathing exercises to help reduce stress.

Here, we offer six more easy ideas to help keep your holiday season enjoyable.

  1. Stop and smell the oranges. Studies have shown that the scent of citrus can have a boosting effect on well being by elevating your levels of norepinephrine.
  2. Eat breakfast before you drink coffee. Drinking coffee before your morning meal can cause irritability by causing your blood sugar levels to rise. Try to eat a little something before you fill up on caffeine and you’ll remain calmer throughout the day.
  3. Eat spicy foods. Scientists have found that eating spicy foods can trigger an endorphin release—an automatic mood lifter. Up your happiness by indulging in a spicy Thai curry or a taco with extra hot sauce.
  4. Squeeze your palms. The fleshy, web area between your thumb and pointer finger is a storage area for stress and tension. Squeeze this pressure point for 30 seconds, and you’ll magically feel your body begin to relax.
  5. Eat more chocolate. Can you believe that it’s true? A 2009 study proved that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks is associated with reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Go on, eat up!
  6. Grab some lavender. Whether you choose a lavender moisturizer, a candle or pure lavender oil—breathe deeply. The scent is known for its soothing, sleep inducing and stress relieving properties.

Photo credit: Travis Swan/flickr

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