On a good day, mothers are slightly stressed.
But that scale can elevate quickly. Throughout the holidays—and the subsequent shopping, baking and entertaining—we sometimes feel the need for a therapist. Or at least a timeout.
Americans consume more than 40,000 tons of aspirin a year, mental coach and author Robert Kriegel writes on a blog post on The Huffington Post. The benefits of timeouts, Kriegel asserts, include decreased stress and tension, relaxation and more energy.
To enjoy this wonderful season, slow down. Take a load off—you don’t have to do it all. If shopping stresses you out, buy gift cards. Skip the cookies this year and buy from a bakery. Pay the babysitter a little extra to help address and send out Christmas cards.
The best way to relieve stress? Exercise, hands down. If you’re at work and sit at a desk, walk away. Skip the elevator and hit the stairs. Eat outside. Catch up with co-workers. You’ll be more productive and think more clearly.
At home, take a bath, go for a walk or read a magazine. A short break—even just 30 minutes—is reenergizing.
Another stress buster is aromatherapy. Sure, we love things that smell good. But essential oils not only stimulate the senses but also help us relax and lift our spirits, according to the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.
Stress-relieving oils such as lavender, ylang ylang, chamomile and bergamot can be found in diffusers, candles, lotions and capsules.
It is important to note that while there are many essential oils on the market, experts agree it’s best to choose certified organic to avoid herbicides and pesticides.
Organic eating, or at least sugar-free, non-processed, clean eating, can also better prepare us to handle stress. And if we’re sleeping well—experts recommend seven to nine hours a night for adults—we’ll have a better shot at keeping the doctor away. Or at least a therapist.