The holiday season is a wonderful time for celebrating, but let’s face it, this time of year can also get overwhelming. Between shopping, parties and family gatherings, there’s a lot going on! It’s important to stay relaxed as we approach the end of the year so you can start 2017 full of energy. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to reduce holiday stress:

1. Meditate by Candlelight

Meditation can sound intimidating, but it really doesn’t require anything more than the ability to sit quietly and pay attention to your breathing. This time of year, a lovely way to meditate is to light a candle and concentrate on the flame. Just two minutes in the morning or evening can make a big difference in calming you down!

 

2. Take a Bath

Got a tub? Take some “me” time and draw yourself a luxurious bath. Use scented bubbles to raise your spirits or add soothing epsom salts to ease your muscles. You can enhance your sense of relaxation with candles, music and a delicious beverage of your choice.

 

3. Go for a Walk

Put your phone on silent (or even better, leave it at home) and take a stroll through your neighborhood to unwind. Light exercise such as walking increases endorphins and will make you feel better, plus it’s healthy too! Bonus points, if you’re willing to brave the cold and walk after dark, you might treat yourself to some festive holiday lights.

 

4. Spend Time with Your Pet

There’s a reason so many people love pets. Dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, birds or any other domestic animal is a great stress-killer. So when the holidays start bringing you down, spend some quality time with Fido or Fifi to relax. If you don’t have pets of your own, consider visiting a local animal shelter to volunteer.

 

5. Give Back to Your Community

Regardless of the time of year, one of the best ways to beat stress is to make yourself of service in your community. Helping others can put your own problems in perspective and make you feel great about making a difference. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen, organizing a food drive, or even helping an elderly neighbor shovel snow or sweep their driveway.