5 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Joy, excitement, anticipation…and stress.  These are four very common emotions that run high during the  holiday season. And in all honesty, we could do without the fourth one–stress.

After all, having a panic attack in the middle of singing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is not fun for anyone.

If we desire joy, peace, and happiness, why is it that we let ourselves succumb to the madness of the season?

We believe there are two major reasons.

  1. We focus so much on others and forget to take care of our own needs.
  2. We get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday activities and forget to take a moment to breathe.

If you’re looking to take the stress out of the holiday season this year, we recommend you take to heart the following tips….

Tip #1 — Make Time for  Self-Care

It’s the season of giving. And trust us, there’s nothing more wonderful than giving your time, attention, and resources to others.

That being said, it’s not okay to forget about yourself.

Self-care is necessary if you want to keep stress levels low and be able to remain calm when the cat knocks all the ornaments off the tree or when your in-laws have overstayed their welcome.

Make time every day to do something for you–whether it be making a meal you love, sitting down with a good book, or watching your favorite television show.

We promise, there’s nothing wrong with asking your partner to bake the cookies for your kid’s class party or saying no to an event so you have time to stay home and relax.

Tip #2 — Say No to Things You Don’t Want to Do/Don’t Have Time For

Between organizing parties, attending events, hosting fundraisers, and other activities, there’s a lot on your schedule during the holidays.

It’s easy to overbook yourself…especially if you’re a people pleaser who doesn’t want to disappoint. But, the reality is, you just can’t do it all without getting stressed out.

This year, say no to the things that you don’t want to do or don’t have time for.

Your office holiday party will still be a hit even if the cupcakes you bring are store-bought instead of homemade, and your town’s holiday festival will still go on without your presence.

Slim down your schedule this year, and you’ll find the season much more enjoyable. We promise.

Tip #3 — Get Organized

One of the best ways to manage holiday stress is to get organized. And even at this point in the month, there’s plenty you can do to get ahead before overwhelm and stress get too out of hand.

Here are a few ideas…

  • Sweet lovers–Schedule a grocery trip to get all of your baking supplies at once. Store it in your pantry so it’s ready whenever you get the itch to bake.
  • Party attendees–Make sure you place all your events on a calendar so you can clearly see how your time is scheduled.
  • Gift givers–Make a list of all the gifts you’ll be purchasing this year. Then schedule a shopping day to get all your shopping done.

We recently wrote a post on ways to get organized for the holiday season. Check out some additional ideas and read the blog here.

Tip #4 — Keep Things Simple

There’s no need to overcomplicate things during the holidays. Yet, it’s something too many of us seem to do (especially after reading Southern Living or a lifestyle blog that makes you want to wow friends and family and attempt your own centerpiece made out of fruit).

Fret not, overachiever. Here are a few ways to keep it simple and lower your stress levels:

  • If you love baking, but don’t have time to make everything from scratch, buy premade cookie dough.
  • If you want to give your loved ones gifts this year, but are stressing out over what to buy them, give them money or gift cards.
  • If you’re hosting a holiday party, but are worried about making dinner and prepping for all those people, have the event catered.

You get the idea…keep it simple!

Tip #5 — Practice Meditation or Deep Breathing Exercises

Meditation and deep breathing exercises are scientifically proven to clear your mind, slow your heart rate, and reduce your stress levels.

If you’re feeling stressed, try to practice some form of meditation each day.

Not sure where to start?

We recommend taking a yoga class or a meditation/wellness class in your community.

Or, if you’re looking for a free option, check out YouTube. Search for “yoga instruction” or “deep breathing exercises,” and pages of free videos will pop up for you to use.

What do you do to stay stress-free during this busy season? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Have the Perfect At-Home Spa Day

There is nothing more relaxing than a day at the spa.

Not to mention, it helps you rest and unwind after a long week of work, chasing your kids around the house, or whatever else it is that you do on a weekly basis.

The only problem is that going to a professional spa can cost a lot of money.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while, but for most people, going for a spa treatment on a weekly basis is simply out of the budget.

For that reason, we at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction want to share with you how to have the perfect at-home spa day.

Our at-home version is just as fun, will make you feel just as relaxed, and can be thrown together for a fraction of what a day at the actual spa would cost.

Follow these steps for a perfect at-home spa day that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Step 1: Prepare Your Favorite Beverage

Most spas will have fancy fruit-infused waters or teas available for guests to drink when they arrive for their appointment. So, to begin your at-home spa session, grab a cup of your favorite beverage—coffee, tea, juice…even wine! We don’t judge!

Step 2: Start with a Face Mask

A face mask is an inexpensive way to rejuvenate your skin and leave your face feeling fresh.

You can purchase premade masks at just about any grocery store or skin care shop for under $5. Or, if you prefer to make your own, simply mix together 1 tbs. of coconut oil with ¼ tsp. of turmeric.

This simple 2-ingredient face mask recipe is great for hydrating your skin and reducing blemishes.

Step 3: Soak Your Feet in a Footbath

From walking all over the place to being crammed in high heels, our feet take a beating every day. This is why it’s so important to give your feet a break and soak them in a footbath.

You can buy a more expensive foot bath at the store for between $60 and $100. If you’re someone who constantly has sore feet, this might be a good investment for you.

However, if you’re only planning on enjoying a good foot soak once in a blue moon, a simple bucket will work just fine. All you have to do is fill a bucket with warm water, add some Epsom salts (you can find this at the grocery store) and let your feet soak for 15-20 minutes.

If you want to get really crazy, you can also add in some essential oils. We personally love adding about 3 drops of peppermint oil into our footbaths.

Step 4: Take a Hot Bath

If more than your feet need a good soak, we recommend that you fill a tub with nice hot water and take a bath.

Be sure to dim the lights, light candles, grab your favorite book, or turn on some soothing music. It’s such a good feeling to be able to separate yourself from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and lock yourself away in a cozy warm bath for an hour or so.

If you’d like, you can add some of the Epsom salts you used in your footbath to the water. These salts are known to help ease sore muscles and help you relax. Or, if you want to do something different, use a delightful-smelling bath bomb to make your bath time a little more special.

Step 5: Finish with Polished Nails

Most ladies have a few bottles of nail polish floating around the house. But here’s the question…how often have you been able to take the time to sit down and actually use them?

Make time after your relaxing bath to end your night with a manicure or pedicure.

Put on a pair of cozy pajamas, pick your favorite nail polish color, and go to town! While your nails are drying, indulge in some senseless TV, read a magazine, or play a game on your phone. It’s all about giving yourself the time to do what makes you happy.

Do you have any at-home spa rituals you love? Share them with us in the comments below!

5 Self-Care Tips Guaranteed to Reduce Stress

Making time for self-care is very important. It allows you to unwind, destress, and refocus.

And most important, making time for self-care is vital for maintaining both your emotional and physical health. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Between work, raising kids, maintaining your home, volunteering, or doing whatever it is you do each week, it’s very easy to forget about taking care of yourself.

Self-care isn’t a reward.

It’s something that needs to be worked into your weekly routine to ensure you stay healthy and happy.

So, today, we thought it would be fun to share 5 simple self-care tips that you can add into your routine every week. Enjoy…

Give Yourself a Night Off

We know you have responsibilities. Kids need to be fed. Pets need to be walked. Houses need to be cleaned. The list goes on and on.

But here’s a little secret. It’s okay to take a night off once a week. In fact, it’s important that you give yourself a break so you don’t go crazy!

Simply ask your partner to take over dinner duty one night a week.

If you don’t have help from a partner, order pizza once a week instead. Everybody wins on pizza night!

Do you have a dog that needs to be exercised? Hire a neighborhood kid to walk your pooch once a week or put your pup in doggy daycare for the day.

Are you tired of cleaning? Ask your kids to take over one of your chores, or rearrange your chore schedule.

There are endless ways you can give yourself one night off each week. All it takes is a little planning and creativity.

Have a Girls’ Night

There’s something therapeutic about a glass of wine, some dessert, and a night out with your best girlfriends.

We know people’s schedules are busy, but we also don’t think it’s unrealistic to set aside time for a girls’ night once a month.

All you need to do is pull out your calendar, call up your girlfriends, and pick a date that works best for everyone.

Then, each month, let one person be in charge of making the plans. This takes the stress off of one person having to coordinate everything.

Here’s are a few ideas for a fun girls’ night activity…

  • Have a movie night
  • Make dinner and dessert
  • Take an art class
  • Host a board game night
  • Go out for a spa day
  • Attend a yoga class
  • Enjoy a hike at a local park

Make Time for Exercise

Making time to exercise is so important…

Not only does weekly exercise keep your body strong and healthy, but it will also keep you feeling confident and looking good.

We’re not saying you have to go crazy and join a high-intensity boot camp training program.

Unless, you’re into that kind of thing…in that case, go for it, girl!

But, a daily walk, taking a yoga class, or going for a swim at your local indoor pool are all great ways to keep your body moving.

Not sure what exercise routine you’d like best? Here are a few fun low-impact workout options to choose from.

Check out our favorite low-impact workout activities. 

Make Your Goals and Dreams a Priority

How often have you had to put your goals or dreams on the back burner because you’ve had a responsibility to put someone else before yourself?

First of all, we applaud your selflessness.

It’s take a special person to be able to put someone else’s wants and needs before your own.

Second, we are here to tell you that now it’s your turn to make your dreams and goals a priority.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up your duties as a spouse, parent, or employee. But, it does mean that you need to give yourself permission to carve out time each week to accomplish the things you want to do.

For instance, if you’ve dreamed of running a marathon, now is the time to plan a few hours each week to go running.

Or perhaps you’ve dreamed of getting a job in a certain profession, but need to go back to school to earn a degree. Today is the day to start saving up for classes and put together a plan for going back to school.

You can make your dreams a reality as long as you start taking steps toward reaching your goals now.

Treat Yourself

Last, but certainly not least, we want you to know that it’s ok to treat yourself every once in a while.

Craving a dessert from your favorite bakery? Stop by after work and reward yourself for a great work day.

Excited that the pumpkin spice latte is now available in coffee shops across the country? You’ve waited all year for it, girl. Go get yourself a drink!

Tired of screaming kids, spending hours doing laundry, and putting in overtime at work? Use a vacation day, and take that 3-day weekend trip with your girlfriends.

I think you get the point.

Every once in a while, do something for YOU. You deserve it!

What is your favorite self-care tip? Share it with us in the comments below!