5 Ways to Find Inner Peace this Holiday Season
It's hard to have a silent night—and a good night's sleep—if your stress levels are on overdrive (something that's all too common during the busy holidays). But as we end one year and head into another, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to find ways to de-stress and be calm.
Stress, and particularly long-term stress, affects the body in many ways. It decreases sleep and increases alertness (to face the danger it perceives), it increases heart rate (and blood pressure), it triggers skin rashes and acne, and it increases the pace at which we age. We also tend to be more moody (anxious or depressed) when under a great deal of stress—which causes us to eat more and exercise less. (You can find more on this in my new book, Beyond Beauty, which is available now on amazon.)
Follow these tips, and my hope is that they'll help you find peace now—and into the New Year:
1) Stop watching the news. It's important to stay in the loop, of course, but constantly watching the news (which is filled with plenty of bad news, as well as some good) can make you feel helpless and anxious. Turn it off this season and focus, instead, on things you can do: being kind to others, loving your family and friends, and taking steps to improve your own life.
2) Hug your loved ones. Put the focus this season on family and friends. And take time out to give hugs to those you love: there's plenty of research that has shown that giving and receiving love can keep you healthy now and for years to come.
3) Create calming rituals. Establish healthy rituals now before New Year's and you'll have a better chance of following them into the New Year. Go for a walk or run (sans music) to enjoy nature in quiet. Take time out for a cup of calming lavender or chamomile tea as you get ready for bed. Carve out time to do yoga or meditation—even for just 5 minutes. Whatever ritual you establish, once you start doing it, you'll find you will be more at peace.
4) Do something you love. Put your computer and shopping list aside, and do something that brings a smile to your face: painting, baking cookies, reading, exercising, or whatever works for you. Happiness is key to reducing anxiety.
5) Silence your electronics. The constant buzzing of your Smartphone or alerts when you have a new e-mail or text message are enough to drive even the calmest person crazy. Turn off your alerts—and if you can, turn off your electronics—from 6 p.m. on so you can relax before going to bed. You may find that you sleep better.
Be peaceful, be happy,