10 ways to relax in 10 minutes or less

The holidays aren't just for twinkling lights, presents, and delicious feasts. The holidays can also be a stressful time for people as the "to do" list grows, family comes to town, and financial stress increases due to holiday shopping. It's not a coincidence that depression and anxiety reportedly increases around the holidays. There are some really simple ways to de-stress that you don't need much time for. Below is a list of 10 things you can do to manage stress in 10 minutes or less.

  1. Take a walk- Stress is stored in the body. A brisk walk can boost endorphins and reduce stress hormones. 
  2. Breathe deeply- Deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. The trick to making these breaths relaxing is to make the exhale long and slow. A count of six on the inhale and exhale will help you to slow it down.
  3. Calm.com- Seriously check it out. This site is awesome and also has a free app you can download onto your phone or tablet.
  4. Enjoy a hot cup of decaf tea- Chamomile is a personal favorite. Go for decaf as caffeine can actually raise stress levels in the body. 
  5. Listen to the song "Weightless" by Marconi Union- According to sound therapists this is supposedly the most relaxing song. Read more about it in this article.
  6. Use aromatherapy- You can purchase rollerballs with relaxing scents and take 10 minutes to rub the oils on your pulse points. Close your eyes and notice how the scent makes you feel (lavender is our personal favorite to use).
  7. Talk with a supportive person- Just talking with someone understanding can help you destress. Research shows that feeling empathy from someone when you are feeling overwhelmed actually lowers stress levels.
  8. Read an inspiring quote- There are tons of apps which generate quotes, or you can carry around a small book with passages such as this book.
  9. Pull out a coloring book- No, but really. Coloring is not just for children anymore. It can be a meditative, stress relieving activity. Especially, when done in this beautifully drawn book (which Sarah owns and adores). 
  10. Practice restorative yoga- Hang out in one or two of these yoga poses for ten minutes and you will feel relaxed, with a calmer state of mind in no time. We especially enjoy legs-up-the-wall pose. 

Seriously, these tricks do work to decrease stress. Find the one that's right for you and remember that you don't need a lot of time to manage stress, you just need the right strategy and willingness to dedicate 10 minutes for yourself. Happy holidays : )