Trying to relax and regroup in your apartment in Lynchburg, VA after the holidays may not be as easy as it sounds. A mile-long to-do list, a stack of unpaid credit card bills, your high-maintenance relatives.
As much as we want our holidays to be defined by the simple pleasures of the season, stress often has a way of creeping in -- in fact, one poll found that 90% of Americans say they stress over at least one thing during this time of year.
So here are some simple ways to relax while still basking in the joy of the holiday season.
Just six minutes of reading can slow heart rate and dissipate muscle tension. It really doesn't matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world.
In a season often dominated by greed, look for opportunities to give back to those less fortunate. One poll found that 73% of volunteers say the practice reduces stress.
Give a Gift
Channel the spirit of the season: People report greater happiness when they spend money on gifts for others or on charitable donations, than they do when they spend that cash on themselves.
Sip Some Chocolate
Here's some sweet news: heart-healthy dark chocolate can also have some stress-busting benefits.
Sniff Some Peppermint
One of the most iconic seasonal scents -- peppermint -- might have stress-relieving properties. A study found that smelling cinnamon or peppermint while driving could decrease fatigue and frustration, and boost alertness.
Research shows that smiling can help to slash stress levels. A study found that genuine smiling can help to lower the heart rate after a stressful activity.