The year is just reaching its close, and as the sound of jolly celebrations and ever-familiar Michael Bublé continues to permeate the cold winter chill, the festive buzz is well and truly all around us.
Although the jolly season usually resonates with feelings of relaxation and rest, for many the experience can be anything but. Indeed, instead of spending time wrapping presents, many become wrapped up in seasonal stress, with their feelings feeling more tangled than a string of Christmas lights.
Sure, this year deserves to go out with a bang, but it shouldn’t mean taking your mental health and wellbeing with it. With a focus on handling short and long term stress and the influence it poses, today we’re going to discuss some of our favourite ways to keep it cool during the winter:
Plan Ahead & Prioritise
Have you ever had that surprise feeling of “oh my goodness when did Christmas arrive?” Its increasingly early appearance always seems to catch us off guard every year too, and the season’s demanding schedule can prove to be incredibly stressful.
What’s more, once that clock strikes midnight on New Year’s, it’s back to the familiar daily grind, which can also come as quite a shock to some if there hasn’t been the time to properly prepare.
So that’s really the point we’d like to put across here: try to see everything coming, and prepare for the future as much as possible. This could mean prioritising tasks, maybe having a few admin days, and getting all of the big tasks completed and packed away before the final doors of the Christmas calendar are opened.
This planned approach will really pay itself off through the reduced amount of stress it generates.
Take the opportunity to have a silent night all to yourself and to catch up on some much needed rest. Sure Christmas can be stressful, and naturally the experience of this strain can exacerbate the problem of trying to enjoy a good night’s rest. But equally, studies have shown how adequate and quality sleep can actually work to relieve the present and future stresses of life.
As much as sleep can react to stress, it can also become a remedy to it if properly approached. We’ve written a whole host of different posts on how to become a master of sleep, and we stick by our guns when we recommend complete darkness, ultimate comfort and little in the way of disturbance.
There are lots of really cool products and tools available in order to achieve this feat, and right now we’ve got some of our favourite pieces from our brand new Christmas collection keeping us company as we forget the stress, and fall gently into a blissful winter slumber.
Don’t Be Afraid of Saying No
Although Christmas can be a very fun time, it can also be very stressful due to the pressure to keep up and please. This is especially true with the added burden of Christmas’s commercial side.
Everything comes in excess during these final few months of the year, and for many this can be way too much. So this season, if there’s something you don’t want to do, or someone you don’t want to see, feel free to exercise your human right of saying no.
Never be afraid to turn people down if you know that it’s going to bring benefits to your wellbeing, and especially if it will help prevent your stress levels from shooting through the roof.
Exercise When You Can
When looking for ways to better manage your stress levels, it’s always really important to remember that the body is its own greatest healer, and exercise can be thought of as a catalyst that rids the body of the physical and mental toxins that generate feelings of stress.
Even if it’s just for a couple of minutes every now and again, physical activity has an enormous power to relieve the symptoms of stress. The way this works is by reducing the levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in the system whilst simultaneously introducing fresh endorphins in their place.
Endorphins work really well at relieving the body’s pain by acting as a natural painkiller, whilst it can also create a feeling of pleasure and euphoria which helps to put the mind in a happier and brighter place; so ‘runner’s high’ really is to be believed.
Kissing Under The… Lavender?!
The mystical power of lavender has long been known to have close ties to stress relief. Not only does it act as a natural anti-inflammatory, but its fresh herbal aroma packs a real punch to stress in many remarkable ways. This is because the heavenly herb is saturated with a type of terpene alcohol called linalool.
When inhaled, and only when inhaled, linalool has the ability to interact with the gamma aminobutyric acid (or GABA for short) neurotransmitters in our brain. This invokes a response from the body whereby the mind is effortlessly, almost instantly, placed at ease; relieving stress with it.
This interaction is best made via the olfactory neurone transmitters found exclusively in the nose, so you’re far better off inhaling linalool than you ever would be by just ingesting it.
Luckily, we’ve harnessed these powerfully peaceful properties throughout many star pieces in our own collection, and our lavender-infused wheat bag, and the iconic SMUG lavender sleep spray (also available in travel size!) all came into being because of this fabulous reason.
Spend Time With People That Love You
Honestly, we think that one of the best remedies to warding off unwanted stress this Christmas is to spend time doing the things you love with the people you love.
Sometimes, that’s all that’s needed to escape the terrible overdrive of an overactive mind. And maybe this solution can come in the form of some of the points we’ve mentioned above.
For example, if you or someone you know is struggling to prioritise their plans for the future, why not try to tackle the problem together? Similarly, try out some stressless exercises with your favourite exercise partner by your side, and don’t forget to recommend the brilliant benefits of lavender whilst you’re both hampering excess stress and enjoying a runner’s high.
We think that the main takeaway from this is that if you are feeling stressed out, it’s really important to know that help and support is always available should you ever need it. So reach out to those around you and let them know how you feel; after all, a problem shared is a problem halved!
The best way to manage stress and to help avoid it in the future of the festive season is to approach the issue as simply as possible.
Looking after your stress starts with looking after yourself, whether that comes in the form of a lavender-infused snooze, through breaking a sweat, or by spending time with the people you want to spend Christmas with; the experience of excess stress is only ever a temporary sensation, and we hope to have helped you understand just some of the multitude of solutions available as its remedy.
Let’s smile this festive season, introducing our brand new Christmas collection: www.sleepsmug.com/collections/christmas-range-2021
For our full SMUG collection, please visit: www.sleepsmug.com
And to dive into our wonderful SMUG Active range, head on over to: www.sleepsmug.com/collections/active
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