5 Ways to De-Stress and Relax

reading time: 4 min

relax, de-stress, calm down, tips, advice, inspiration, lifestyle, nature, peace

Hello lovely people,

we all know Christmas can be a surprisingly stressful and exhaustive time of year, and if we don't take care of ourselves we easily can get too caught up with all the things that need sorting out before we sit down at the holiday table. 

Usually we only treat ourselves to a relaxing pamper session when we have spare time - however, I think that this is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing! Instead, we should make time for ourselves in particularly stressful and overwhelming moments.

Stress is a widespread disease nowadays – we are mostly responsible for it ourselves and struggle with it while working a lot and facing constant accessibility. For example, I'm the sort of person who easily gets overwhelmed by all the obligations and events during Christmas season, and being around too many people at once just emotionally drains me after a while

As you know, I love taking time out to relax with bubble baths or a calming yoga session, but aside from that there are many other ways to reduce stress and wind down in day-to-day life!

1. Connect
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't take a break from events and activities - quite the opposite. Step back for a moment, dis-connect from the people around you (whether online or in person), put away your phone, switch off any electronic devices and just be with yourself. Connect with yourself, with nature, with your pet. Anything that will make you feel yourself, and by that I mean: your body, your senses, your mind, your needs, your desires, your heart. Take deep breaths. Be silent. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings. Actually perceive your external and internal world. It's so easy to lose yourself out there in the world, in activities, duties, work... as soon as you re-connect with yourself, you will be able to find the calm spot inside you. The centre of the cyclone.

2. Eat well and healthy
I know, this has been said and written a million times already, but especially during the Christmas season we find ourself stuffing our faces with more food than benefits us. And most of those foods are filled with sugar and fats - I've been eating sooo many (rather healthy but still processed) cookies lately, I'm actually struggling to go through one single day without eating on. Whoops. But instead of depriving yourself from eating all those yummy treats, make sure you eat enough healthy foods (vegetables, potatoes, rice, legumes, fruits, whole grains etc) to fill you up and avoid any serious snack attacks. Especially on Christmas day and the days after!

3. Aromatherapy
I'm sure we all know by know that lavender is very popular for pillow mists, soothing baths and sleeping teas due to its properties to relax the body, calm the mind and promote deep sleep. It is even said to ease mild depression and anxiety. The lovely mind-freeing scent of lavender essential oil can be used in aromatherapy in form of a lavender scented bath, a homemade linen spray such as this one, dripped into a diffuser or an aroma lamp like the one I got myself for like 2 bucks. Very simple, but effective. Just fill some water into the tiny bowl and add a few drops of essential oil. If you need something refreshing rather than calming, go for a citrus scent such as orange or grapefruit instead.

Alternatively, you could make your own kitchen potpourri aka aromatherapy on the stove to fill your house with lovely smells. A pot of simmering water with a few drops of essential oils added to it will certainly do the trick. Or just let your own mix of fragrant ingredients simmer: orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, allspice, bay leaves, mint leaves... Just keep an eye out on the gently simmering pot so it doesn't boil dry and ruin your pot.

TIP: You could also trickle some drops of lavender essential oil into your daily cream or lotion.
I also like to place the leftover orange peels from eating an orange on top of my radiator so they will naturally emit their wintry fragrance.

4. Pamper your Skin 
With the skin being our largest organ, it's important to give it some rest and love from time to time, especially during winter when our skin is naturally stressed by changing climate and dry air. That might be by applying a homemade hair conditioner or a hydrating face mask such as this green Matcha Honey mask that makes me look like a muddy Grinch, hehe.  

TIP: Pay particular attention to a different body part each time, such as the often-neglected feet or elbows. How about a nice at-home pedicure with mellow music in the background and some aromatherapy going on in your room?

5. Make room for inspiration
I usually recognize my own exhaustion when I'm no longer inspired or creative. When I feel like an empty bag. That's when I know that I can't produce any output without a creative break any more. Without some inspirational book such as a nourishing book, a motivational pinterest board or a calming audio book (or a guided meditation perhaps). I find it also very helpful to create a calming, inspiring environment for myself. Clean up your room, put up a salt lamp or some (lavender scented) candles, turn on your diffuser, take a nap, have some tea or watch a comforting movie.

That's it. It's that easy to create a relaxing stress-free day-to-day life. The difficult thing is to remember it. To make room for these little changes in your day. But you can do it! If necessary, bookmark motivational posts like this to your browser, or set yourself a daily timer for "me-time".    

I wish everyone a very merry and STRESS FREE Christmas!

Also: thank you to Susan and Marissa over at Rae Gun Ramblings for featuring this post at their linky party!!