The holidays are here, whether you like it or not, and for a lot of people that means a lot of stress from family obligations, financial concerns and much more.
A lot of us are already too busy, says wellness expert Dr. Ann Kulze. “Then, you add to that the added responsibilities and obligations, more social engagements, entertaining people, family coming in,” she says. “That means oh, I’ve got to clean up the yard and the house. And I have additional cooking. And if it’s Christmas, I’ve got to think about what I’m going to get for people, what presents I’m going to get.”
Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate holiday stress, and we spoke with wellness and organization experts about ways to keep it all together even when you’d like to run away from it all.
“Be proactive, and tell yourself that you refuse to get stressed. So it’s like, no, holidays are for joy. They’re for connection. They’re for love. I’m not going to get stressed,” says Kulze.
Orange Circle Studio Do It All 2022 Wall Calendar
“I’m a big advocate of planners and use them to schedule both work and personal activities,” says Carolyn Kraut, founder and owner of Hands of Time Concierge. “There are also families that still hang wall calendars in their kitchens to track family activities, keeping them separate from their work calendars/planners.”
While it might be too late to start a family planning calendar this year, gear up for 2022 with this pretty floral version (there are three other designs as well) that has a large grid, stickers and a magnetic hanger.
On Cloud 2.0
“Exercise is a very effective way to deal with stress. Moving your body helps to release endorphins, which can balance your mood. The exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. Something as simple as a walk can go a long way to help clear your mind,” says wellness entrepreneur Shahada Karim, founder of Habibi Body and Habibi Sport.
Take a walk around the neighborhood and feel like you’re walking on air in these super-cushioned kicks that will keep your feet comfy and your body stress-free.
Verilux Happy Light Luxe
Research has shown that a lamp with light intensity of 10,000 lux set 16 to 24 inches away at a 45-degree angle from the eyes for 30 minutes can help in treating seasonal affective disorder and other mood disorders. This SAD lamp was our winner for the best SAD lamp of 2021 due to its well-thought-out controls and sleek packaging.
Lululemon The Reversible Mat
“Yoga is a rock star for stress resiliency, stress reduction, for reasons that are obvious and maybe some that we’re still trying to tease out,” explains Kulze. “It’s got the breathing, it’s got the stretching, it’s got the holding of these actual movements, which has this wonderful kind of tranquilizing effect on the body. And then beyond that, it’s the aerobic activity, particularly moderate to vigorous.”
Do gentle stretches, a full workout or just give in to savasana with our favorite yoga mat of 2021.
Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant
Lightweight yet opaque, the Align’s buttery-soft feel and stretchiness are like no other legging. Check out our picks for the best leggings of 2021 here.
CRZ Yoga Women’s Naked Feeling Workout Leggings
For a more affordable option, these Lululemon lookalikes are as much a pleasure to wear during workouts as they are lounging around the house.
Cosori Pour-Over Kettle
“I call them kind of superstar foods for stress protection,” Kulze says of stress-relieving teas. “Sipping on freshly brewed tea from camellia sinensis leaf. That’s green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea.”
You’ll need something to brew all the tea you’re going to be drinking, and this highly rated, well-priced kettle has the good looks and power to deliver hot water fast.
Frieling Stainless Steel Herb & Tea Infuser Ball
Love loose-leaf tea? This infuser set lets you steep your tea of choice (or herbs) in hot water or broth.
Yogi Egyptian Licorice Tea, 64 Bags
“I’m a huge fan of licorice tea. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and help with problematic digestion (a common side effect of stress),” says Karim.
Fellow Carter Travel Coffee Mugs
Take your soothing drink to go in this cute travel mug, available in five relaxing colorways. Just sip away as traffic and the world fly by.
Sarah Burrows and Nick Behr Unwind Lavender Gift Set
“Lavender-scented products have been recommended for relaxation and stress relief for as long as I can remember,” says Kraut. This set will help you with a relaxing routine that helps soothe you into peaceful slumber with the power of aromatherapy.
Keomi Naturals Lavender Organic Handmade Bath and Body Set ($37.97; amazon.com)
Keomi Naturals Lavender Organic Handmade Bath and Body Set
“So often during the holiday times, frankly, people are entertaining more and going to more parties, and their sleep is disturbed,” says Kulze. “And that will exponentially decrease your stress resiliency and increase your propensity to feel stress when you shouldn’t, if you’re sleep-deprived.”
Another lavender option to destress, this gift set is perfect to bring home for yourself or gift to a stressed friend or family member. Luxury soap, oil and natural hand cream — all made in the US.