Feeling stressed? Write about it!
If the holidays have you stressed, journaling can help you identify those specific stressors and help you avoid/overcome them in the future. Journaling has actually been proven to improve mood and reduce stress or anxiety. It can help you prioritize your goals and keep track of your personal progress. Perhaps you should add a journal to your Christmas list this year!
Meditate to alleviate New Year anxiety
Meditation can help you focus on the present moment rather than stressing about the future. While meditating, you must listen to your body; clear your mind of any intruding thoughts, focus on your breathing, and feel every individual muscle relax throughout your body. You can practice along with this guided video if you’re a beginner.
Address your stress with Yoga
Similar to meditation, yoga can improve your body awareness, and bring you mental clarity and calmness. However, a few differentiating factors include its ability to increase your strength, balance, and flexibility. In yoga, you practice slow movements and deep breathing to increase blood flow and stretch your muscles, all while holding a challenging pose to build strength. Here’s a beginner’s video guide to yoga if you want to try it out.
Connect with nature
This is one of my favorites. Silence your phone, go on a walk (preferably by yourself), listen to music, and practice some introspection. Maybe take a few pictures of things that pique your interest; whether you live in a booming urban city or rural countryside, there’s always something beautiful to admire.
Have a quick Jam Sesh
Before you get back to reality, blast your favorite songs for 10 minutes and jam out in your room. This is my go-to distraction when I feel like I need a break from real life. Let out your angst and stress, or express your happiness. I promise, this will leave you feeling refreshed and refocused.
I find art to be therapeutic, but for others it may be frustrating. If you relate to the latter, perhaps this option is not for you. But if you enjoy painting, drawing, sewing, or sculpting, these art forms can be a great way to relieve stress and leverage your creativity. Research indicates that painting promotes emotional healing, improves communication and concentration, and can help reduce feelings of isolation. Try out this Beginner’s Guide to Art Therapy if you’re interested. Pull out those paintbrushes and get to work!
Pick up that book you’ve been wanting to start but haven’t gotten around to reading
Reading is a great way to reduce mental chatter and distract yourself from life’s stressors. Studies show that books that evoke excitement and surprise have the ability to boost readers’ dopamine immensely, resulting in feelings of happiness and contentment. This can be a much-needed mood boost if you are inundated with holiday stress. Check out this list of must-read books for the upcoming year!