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escaping the (holiday) chaos: 5 simple ways to de-stress


keep calm it's christmas


Today's post is written by Positively Present reader, Isabella York. Isabella is a working mother who handles a good deal of "chaos" in her daily life. In order to give her family her full attention, she knows she cannot be overwhelmed by daily stressors. She's come up with some great ways to de-stress and escape the chaos. While she didn't write this post specifically about Christmas-related stress, I know a lot of readers out there might be struggling with the holidays. To beat the holiday chaos, check out Isabella's tips below... 

It is easy to let the business and chaos of life become overwhelming. Often I find, whether I am at work or out and about running errands, that I let the hustle and bustle get to me and I simply am not there for my family and friends who need me. I have recently started trying to take time out of the craziness of my day to de-stress; to remove myself from the chaos and take a deep breath before going on with my day. One of the main criteria I had in coming up with these de-stressing activities is that they be free or nearly free. If you are like me and need to escape from the chaos of life from time to time, take a look at the list of ideas that I came up with.

5 Simple Ways to Destress

1. Get some fresh air. Nothing relieves my stress like some fresh air and a gentle breeze. When I am at the office I don’t have windows that open, but I find that a five minute “fresh air break” does wonders for my outlook and attitude. When I am in the car doing errands, I just crack the window a bit and let the fresh air wash over me. At home nothing makes cleaning duties go more smoothly than opening all of the windows and letting the outside in.

2. Burn off some energy. As the stress mounts, I find that my nervous energy does as well and it needs somewhere to go. Depending on where I am and what I am doing I may do some sprinting, take a quick run up and down the stairs, or just do some good old-fashioned jumping jacks. Once I have burned this energy it is easier for me to focus on the task at hand without fidgeting and being distracted.

3. Write a note. I have taken to carrying a packet of notecards and a pen with me wherever I go, whether to work or the grocery store. When I start to feel stressed I simply think of a friend or family member and focus on them for a bit and write them a note to let them know that I am thinking of them. The amazing thing is that the simple act of thinking about someone other than myself and my situation for a few minutes calms me and allows me to get on with my day. It also allows me to be there for whoever I am writing the note to and, hopefully, de-stresses their day a bit, too.

4. Take a bath. Water has an incredible soothing effect. If your situation allows, taking a few minutes to sit in the bathtub with your favorite bath oil or bubbles can wash away all of the cares of the day. If you don’t have time for a bath, a shower can achieve the same result in a shorter time, but no less effectively. Adding aromatherapy candles to the mix can only increase the healing powers of this time.

5. Listen to music. Music, as they say, has charms to soothe a savage breast, and there is nothing more savage than me when I am in a bad mood -- just ask my children! Take some time and put on your favorite music for a few minutes when you feel like the stress is affecting your mood. This is especially effective for me in the car; I treat it almost as an escape to take a drive by myself and listen to my favorite song. Obviously music is a very subjective thing, but I find that instrumental pieces are more soothing to me because I am not distracted by the lyrics.

As our lives grow more chaotic it becomes increasingly important to find ways to de-stress, both for ourselves and those who rely on us to be there for them. There are as many ways to refocus as there are people, but the most important thing is to do something to ensure we are able to care for our friends and family no matter what is going on around us.

Isabella York is a working mother who handles a good deal of "chaos" in her daily life. In order to give her family her full attention, she knows she cannot be overwhelmed by daily stressors. Along with raising her son, she works for Balsam Hill, a purveyor of Artificial Christmas Trees.




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It's funny, one of the ways I find to make the chaos of the holiday season less is to embrace it. I know it seems like it would be the exact opposite of what you want to do, but by embracing it you redefine what is normal. Using this method the chaos, for me, turns into joy.

Mark - I really love that idea! It does seem like it would be the opposite of what you'd automatically think to do, but sometimes embracing the chaos really is the way to go. Thanks for that great insight!

What a wonderful way to refocus by writing a note to someone special. Thank you for that suggestion.

And thank you for commenting on my blog. Love the Present!

Meredith - I agree! I'm glad you liked this guest post and I hope you'll come back and visit Positively Present again soon. I'm contemplating writing about the Love the Present campaign. I was so happy to see you were inspired by the campaign too. Thanks for coming over to check out my site!

It is good to think of others and focus energy on the true gifts of love and friendship during the holidays.

Syd - Thinking of others is an excellent way to channel our energy during the holiday season -- as is focusing on the true gifts of the season, like love and friendship. Thanks for those great reminders, Syd!

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