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Merry ways to de-stress and enjoy the holidays

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can leave you feeling less “Ho, ho, ho!” and more “No, no, no!” Here are some merry ways to de-stress so you can relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Open a window

Just looking out your window can have a relaxing effect. reports that in a study led by Peter Kahn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle, participants in an office were shown one of three views: a natural setting, a digital display of the same scene, and no view. When stress levels were artificially increased, those looking at the real natural scene returned to their normal heart rate more quickly. Those who looked at the digital display did no better than those looking at a blank wall, suggesting the brain is not easily fooled. So next time you feel your heart rate go up due to stress, make a beeline for a window with a view and feel yourself relax as you gaze.


2. Lighten up your workout (for a day)



If you have a particularly draining day, skip the intense workout and settle for something lighter like a light jog or a beginner’s yoga class. The mental stress will only intensify by adding physical stress. A lighter workout will brighten your mood and get you prepared for tomorrow.

3. Treat your allergies

Stress and allergies go hand-in-hand for many people. Alvaro Guzman, a psychiatrist at the National Center for the Treatment of Phobias, Anxiety and Depression in Washington, D.C., says research shows that patients with seasonal allergies often report stress, mood dips, and depression when symptoms flare. So make sure that you are keeping track of your allergies and when symptoms get worse, make an appointment to see your allergist.

4. Let a swear word slip


We’ve all done it. We’re out with our friends talking about our horrible day at work, and we let the F-bomb slip. Don’t feel bad though, studies show that swearing can be good for you and your mood. Psychologists at England’s Keele University found that cursing is, “a harmless emotional release,” and can make you feel stronger and more resilient. Make sure you’re just blowing off steam though and not swearing at someone.

5. Play a video game

The 2009 Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine included a study that found that when people played video games they were able to vent their frustration and aggression— and showed a noted improvement in stress levels. The study hypothesized that games gave certain “Type A” personalities time to relax in “a state of relative mindlessness” that allowed them to avoid reaching “a certain level of stressful arousal” as they tried to relax. Try not to play violent video games, as these can add pressure. Try Mario Kart or an active game on the Wii.

6. Eat more fish



According to Dana Angelo White, a registered dietitian, says the heart-healthy omega-3 fats in fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna manage adrenaline levels to help keep you calm, cool and collected. They’re also good for just about every part of your body, including the eyes, skin and hair. Next time you go out to eat, skip the cheeseburger and order the fish.


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