Tag Archives: Destress

Melt Away Holiday Stress

If you are looking for the perfect gift this holiday season, look no further than the stress relieving Hanukah balls. Whoever said that holidays were supposed to be peaceful never tried frying latkes while worrying that the kids didn’t burn the house down lighting the menorah. If no one was thoughtful enough to buy you Hanukah stress balls this year, there are alternatives. If the holidays have made you feel less than thankful this year, here are some other ways to relax.

Woman relaxing

Make Time For You
While the holidays are often a time for pleasing others, don’t forget about yourself. Give yourself a gift this year, after all, no one knows you like you do! Read a book, watch a TV show, or take a shopping detour to enjoy a coffee to tea and do some people watching.

Sometimes you need to remind yourself what the holidays are really about. Even if you don’t attend a mass or ceremony an empty temple or church is a great place for reflection.

Play a Prank
Humor is a great way of relieving tension. You can pull a few pranks right at your holiday party. Serve some chocolate covered Cheetos and see if anyone comments or put a plastic bug in the punchbowl.

Woman doing yoga meditation
If you can’t find outer peace this season, you can always try to get some inner peace. Just sit in a stabilized posture and focus your mind inward. Zen teacher Bodhin Kjohede, director of the Rochester Zen Center says mindful mediation and simple breathing exercises can provide highly effective stress relief.

Overcooked the ham? Don’t worry! Go into the other room and get into a yoga pose. Yoga stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, reduce heart rate and help slow the mind for increased clarity.

Spa Day (Pedicure, Blow Dry, Massage)
It was once said that the nicest thing one person can do for another is to give them a foot massage. You can go for a pedicure with all the fixings. Get a pedicure fit for a queen complete with soothing scents, hot- water soak, and the all important foot massage.Or, if you want some royal pampering, why not try a therapeutic shampoo and blow-dry? Start with a hair washing followed by a scalp massage and then let your hair be curled, styled, or straightened under luxurious warmth.

And for the icing on the cake? Have your body turned to jelly by some strong hands on your shoulders, back, neck, and arms in a cozy relaxing room. You’ll feel like a million bucks!

And, if none of those work, there’s always Hanukah stress balls! Tell us how you handles your holiday stress this year. We love to hear from you!

Mid-Day Refreshers

The tradition of the siesta is common throughout Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.  It is derived form the Latin word “hora seta,”  or sixth hour, otherwise known as midday, or six hours after dawn.  It is a time in which businesses close down so workers and employers can take a snooze during the hottest hours of the day.  Einhard’s  “Life of Charlemagne” most charmingly refers to the emperor’s siestas as a time,”In summer, after his midday meal (when) he would eat some fruit, and take another drink; then he would remove his shoes and undress completely, just as he did at night, and rest for two or three hours.”  Sound good?  Well, good luck trying that in the middle of your office.

Apparently, the need to sleep starts growing as soon as you wake up. (Seems about right.) Harvard Professor of Sleep Medicine, (Did you know there was such a job?) Charles A.  Czeisler says, ” The circadian system is set up in a beautiful way the override the homeostatic need for sleep.”  However, sometimes there is a dip in the day when the need for sleep has built up and  the second wind has not yet kicked in, hence the mid-day  slump.  Maybe someday we will all have the luxury of a siesta, but until then, here are some suggestions to help get past it.

Woman drinking coffee

Sip Some Green Tea or Coffee
Green tea is a less caffeinated and alternative to coffee and is full of antioxidants, but if coffee is still the way you roll, it has its health benefits as well.

Gets the blood flowing and definitely keeps you awake.  You are much likely to fall asleep in the middle of jumping jacks than you are with your head down on your desk.  If going to the gym is not time permitting, just do a few stretches or light aerobics at the desk.

Eating is always  a good way of restoring energy to your body.  If its not lunch time, keep a healthy snack handy at your desk.  String cheese, a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit are all great options.  Jerky is  another high protein alternative that is easy to pack and keep fresh, but try to avoid brands with high levels of sodium.  Another tip?  Resist  sugar. It may perk you up in the short term, but you’ll be comatose on the drive home.

Woman listening to music

Chew Gum
Sugar free gum is a great way to keep your jaw moving and your teeth clean at the same time.  The rush of flavor is invigorating and it does involve some physical activity, plus all the cool kids chew gum!

Turn On Some Music
Have you ever seen “Risky Business?”  Have a Tom Cruise moment in the middle of the afternoon!  Just turn on whatever rocks you to life.  Headphones are recommended to avoid a midday office dance party, and try to keep your pants on.

Take A Nap
Sure, take a cue from our Mediterranean neighbors. If you can afford to, and your boss is liberal, go for a power nap in the middle of the day.  Try to keep it down to 20 minutes, an alarm clock with a snooze button may come in handy.

Wine’s Relaxing Properties

Woman drinking wine

Man’s love affair with wine goes way back. In the 1700’s,  Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying, “The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation.  The Universe is too full of stars.”

Although, other beverages are celebrated,  it seems that wine has a meaningfulness  that other drinks don’t.  Wine is a drink that turns an evening into an occasion and is also the drink of passion and philosophical conversation.

Some attribute the relaxing power of wine to its alcohol content.  Indeed many people believe that wine has just the right amount of alcohol to loosen our tongues without the more undesirable effects of stronger alcoholic products, and this is true to a point.  The alcohol content of wine is indeed a bit lower than that of beer and other liquors,” just the right amount to make you tipsy.”  But let’s consider some other causes.

Social Effects
You’re at a party, you don’t know to many people, you’re still a little wound up from a busy day and you’re  feeling sort of invisible. You go to the bar and get yourself a glass of wine.  About halfway through the glass, you begin to perk up.  You start checking out the people at the party.  That guy in the glasses is pretty cute.  You blush. He walks over.  You can fill in the rest.  What happened? What is in this miraculous potion and how did it make my night 10x better?

Wine works in part as a muscle  relaxant.  As the facial muscles loosen, our pupils dilate, causing us to react positively, especially to a partner.  Apparently, not only do dilated pupils show a positive response in someone, they  also make them more appealing to look at.  (Dilated pupils, who would have thought it?) According to a study by the University of Bristol, sober people rated wine drinkers before and after a drinking.   The results showed that people’s looks seem to improve after they consume the grape liquid. The ratings were higher for the post wine drinkers. The natural blush that comes with wine may increase the attractiveness  factor.  But, before you guzzle the whole bottle, hoping to turn into Megan Fox, note that researchers do warn that more than one glass causes the opposite effect, so keep it down to one!

The Great Unwind
Let’s try another scenario.  Tensions are high at work.  Deadlines are mounting and the pressure is on.  By the time you get home, you are abuzz with nervous energy.  You need to take your mind off work or you fear you are headed for a sleepless night.  A sleepless night equals an unproductive day.  Just the thought of not being able to sleep adds to your stress.  You go for the Moscato.  Minutes later, you are miles away.  You can handle it whatever they throw at you.  Piece of cake.  You have it all figured out.  You will sleep tonight.

Wine calms your nervous and has positive effect on your sleep, if you make sure not to drink it too close to bedtime or to overdo it. David L. Katz of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center says, “One glass of wine at dinner is apt to have a calming effect without impairing sleep.” But drinking more can affect your metabolism, so net affect  can be negative if the drinking occurs too close to bedtime.

The Melatonin Factor (red wine only)
Did you know that grape skins, which are removed in making white wine, are full of melatonin?  You may have heard of melatonin being used as a healthy alternative to sleeping pills.  Melatonin is the hormone that regulates our body clocks and tells us when to go to bed.  According to researcher Dr. Marcello Iriti, the melatonin content in wine could help keep out circadian rhythms in check. The most melatonin enriched wines include Merlot, Cabernet and Chianti.

So, here’s to you!  But keep it classy!  One glass will do the trick!