Soak in Lavender Oil from 15 Natural Remedies for Instant Calm During the Holidays

15 Natural Remedies for Instant Calm During the Holidays

Between family, friends, dinner parties, and shopping, the holiday season can be an overwhelming and a stressful time for many people. The good news is that you can dodge the winter blues and snap yourself out of a low mood in no time.

*Related: 15 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Maintain awareness of your thoughts, bodily sensations, feelings, and surroundings by practicing mindful living. “Close your eyes and practice deep breathing,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, New Jersey. Focus on the present, live in the moment, and do your best to cut out all negative distractions.

Make Comprehensive Lists

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Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, New Jersey, says, “I add to my to-do list all day long, and doing so helps keep me calm and level-headed.” Writing down a list helps to reduce the number of thoughts you have stirring around in your head all day long, she says.

Brew a Cup of Tea

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“My go-to when I’m stressed is a cup of herbal tea,” Gorin says. “The hot water is so soothing, and when I force myself to take a break, I calm down. I also love a cup of hot water with lemon.”

Have a Mindful Snack

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“When it's snack time, I love to grab a 100-calorie pack of Wonderful Pistachios,” Gorin says. “The act of shelling the pistachios is calming, plus it helps me be mindful, since they take longer to eat. In fact, you may be less likely to reach for extra servings: People eating in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent less calories than people snacking on shelled ones, found a preliminary study in Appetite.

Soak in Lavender Oil

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The smell of lavender promotes quick stress and anxiety relief. Mix about five drops of lavender oil into your bath, or diffuse a few drops of it into the air when you’re feeling stressed. “In a Florida study, students who inhaled lavender oil scent before an exam [had] less anxiety,” Health explains.

Score Some Social Media Love

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Gorin says that “if you’re feeling down, post a feel-good photo of a favorite memory on Facebook or Instagram. You’re bound to get some instant likes and mood-boosting comments.”

Go for a Walk

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“Get out of the house for some fresh air and get those endorphins boosted,” Gorin says. “The exercise is bound to help calm you.” See: 10 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Walk.

Reach for Healthy Comfort Food

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“Research in Health Psychology shows that healthy comfort food, such as popcorn or nuts, is just as likely to boost a negative mood as more caloric comfort food, like ice cream,” Gorin says. One of her go-to healthy comfort foods is Sabra’s Veggie Fusion Mango Lime Guacamole, which she likes to pair with cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices. “You get a boost of happy summer from the mango and lime—plus you get heart-healthy fats from the avocado,” she adds.

Do Something That Makes You Happy

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“Maybe it’s going on Amazon.com to order a new scarf, maybe it’s brewing a mug of your favorite tea, or maybe it’s grabbing your pal at work for a walk around the office,” Gorin says. “Whatever it is, take 10 minutes to do something for you, and you’re bound to feel calmer.”

Take a Deep Breath

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“Close your eyes and practice deep breathing,” Gorin says. “I tell my clients to close their office door and take a few minutes of ‘me’ time if they need it.”

Reach for a Fueling Purse Snack

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“Sometimes we get stressed during the holidays because we’re hungry and in need of an energy-providing snack,” Gorin says. “I like to keep healthy snacks in my purse, such as KIND fruit-and-nut bars (I’m loving the Almond & Apricot bar right now). The bars provide a satiating combination of healthy fat, fiber, and protein.”

Bake

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Get those creative juices stirring in the kitchen! One of Gorin’s favorite recipes to whip up is mini cinnamon spice muffins. “I grew up making a version of them with my mom, so they also provide a sense of home,” she says.

Listen to Music

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Whether you are at work or running errands, listen to music. “Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music,” according to Psych Central. “This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones.”

Email a Friend

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Gorin says that “connecting with friends and loved ones can increase mood, especially during the holidays when your pals could probably use a friendly word, too.”

Eat a Distraction-Free Meal

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“Being distracted can lead to feeling frazzled and overeating. When you sit down to dinner, turn off the TV and put away the smartphone,” Gorin says. “In one study in Couple & Family Psychology, families who ate in a noisy environment consumed more cookies, versus ones who ate in a quiet setting.”

Exercise

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Thirty minutes of exercise a day can have huge effects on your mental health. It will help reduce feelings of stressanxiety, and depression. Next time you feel stressed, hop on a cardio machine for 30 minutes; when your workout is complete, you will feel calm and at ease.