Sunday, December 7, 2014

5 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Posted By on Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 9:40 AM

viparita_karani.jpg

Your to-do list is a mile long. A trip to the mall requires a prophylactic anti-anxiety pill. Family is coming. Trees need trimming and roasts need roasting. When the festive season starts to feel like a stress fest, wellness strategies like these can ease a bit of the pressure and give you some much-needed TLC.

1. Put your legs up the wall. A restorative yoga pose like Viparita Karani (pictured above) is just what the doctor ordered for lowering stress hormones and inducing a theta-brainwave state of deep relaxation. Better yet, treat yourself to a full 90-minute restorative yoga class at your local yoga studio.

2. Go for a float. Try floatation therapy for its many feel-good benefits; floating in a tank of salt water for an hour can increase your levels of mood-boosting dopamine and endorphins, relieve insomnia, and replace feelings of free-floating anxiety with free-floating bliss. The new Mountain Float Spa in New Paltz offers float sessions starting at $65. For a true slice of heaven, try the "Float Sandwich" package: $135 for a 60-minute float followed by a 60-minute full-body massage.

3. Do a guided meditation. The cyberworld may be hectic, but it's also filled with free, streaming guided meditations designed to counter its overstimulation. A menu of options from the American Buddhist teacher Tara Brach includes the 10-minute "A Moment of Calm" meditation.

4. Have a silent meal. Elizabeth Gross, a local yoga teacher who gives workshops in mindful eating, suggests balancing out a hectic day with one meal eaten in silence. The quiet can help you eat with more grounded presence, being open to gratitude and really tasting your food instead of gulping it down on the go.

5. Give aromatherapy a whirl. Sniffing in a carefully chosen scent can usher in relaxation and change your emotional state. Try peppermint to counter fatigue, lavender to relieve stress, and bergamot to invite a sense of happiness and peace. Questions? Ask the folks at Heart and Soul Apothecary and Aromatherapy Shop, an aromatic boutique selling essential oils, candles, teas, herbs, and more in Beacon.

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