Christmas. The time of year where we eat and drink to the point of explosion. Where we shower each other in gifts. Spend time with loved ones. Spread the cheer. Take time of work. And put so much pressure on ourselves to Have A Good Time that arguments and stress-induced meltdowns often occur as a result.
And while that side effect can be unavoidable at times, there are a few tactics you can employ this festive season that may help reduce anxiety, create a calmer environment, and stop you from murdering that annoying family member.
As meditation becomes more mainstream, with its stress and anxiety reducing benefits being hailed the world over, tools to aid your journey into mindfulness are all the easier to find. Apps like Inscape, Headspace and Calm are internationally applauded and guide you though the process, which is super helpful if you don't really know how to switch off. Both of these come with a free trial too, so you can sample them over the Christmas period and discover if they work for you before investing.
In addition to helping improve anxiety, meditation also enhances self awareness. Per a summary from Healthline, the practice helps you to recognize harmful, self-defeating thoughts and can cultivate creative problem solving abilities. In other words, the next time that uncle gets on your nerves, you'll be more likely to find a solution and less likely to smash a bauble in his face.
There's a reason that yoga is renowned for its stress-combating, calming effects, and its not just about molding yourself into crazy shapes and saying "Namaste" every now and again. According to a report published via Healthline, the combination of deep breathing, bending, and focus have similar affects to some antidepressants, and incorporating it into your lifestyle (anyway, not just at Christmas) is a great way to unearth that coveted #innerpeace.
What's more, you don't have to leave the house. Thanks to YouTube channels such as Yoga with Adriene (above), all you need is a yoga mat and a closed door to enjoy some significant recharge time.
If there's one thing Christmas stockings tend to deliver in droves, it's grooming gift sets. While the gifts we receive aren't always of the Aesop-variety, they do provide the perfect ticket to TLC-town. And by that, I mean that they give you an excuse to lock yourself in the bathroom for an hour, have a bath, get your aromatherapy vibe on, and chill TF out.
If you're a bit unsure of where to start when it comes to getting your groom on, we've got your back. Over the last year we've honed guides on everything from how to have perfect hair on the daily, to manicures and pedicures, to nailing your winter skincare routine.
While we're not necessarily suggesting that you need to resort to drug use to escape family stress, there's a lot to be said for the anxiety decreasing affects of marijuana, providing you opt for the right strain (and providing its legal where you live). Publications like High Times and Leafly are great for working out what strains are best for certain people, and what to opt for or avoid in anxiety-inducing situations.
If you want a little inspo for your seasonal smoke, check out Highsnobiety's documentary on luxury weed. In High End (watch above) we dive into the booming marijuana culture, explore the key stores, and evaluate the future of the market.
Chill the IG
Many studies have released over the last couple of years explaining the hazards social media can play on your mental health. So, while you may feel like dipping into Instagram will provide the perfect haven for escaping family madness, the likelihood is you'll end up scrolling through countless posts curated to look like everyone else is having a lovely, wholesome time, making you feel even worse as a side-effect.
Unplugging from social media platforms for a few days is therefore one of the best ways to combat the feeling that you always need to be on top form and having IG-worthy times. Rather than constantly comparing your time to your friends festivities and celebs' bouji banquets, use the time you'd spend scrolling to immerse yourself in a good book, movie, or any of the activities mentioned above.
How are you planning to stay sane this Christmas? Share your pro tips in the comments.
Now, stay zen and get in the mood for snowboard season with the beautiful short film, 'Soft.'