5 Easy Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

 

By Nicole Kwan

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The end of the year (and everything that brings) is sneaking up on us– fast. Before you let yourself get super-overwhelmed, take stock on what you can do for your own self-care so you always have little ways to find calm. Bring these with you when you’re rushing toward that end-of-year work deadline, dealing with family travel plans, or exhausted from back-to-back holiday parties (lucky you!).

Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay sane through the holidays, and a few items on my destress wish list.

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1. Add plants to your home.

 

Bringing greenery inside can turn your place into your own little refuge, especially when nothing is flourishing outside. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that interacting with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress. Plus, NASA research found that houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins, so you’ll have cleaner air to breathe.

The Philodendron Green plant above from The Sill is good for beginner plant parents!

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  1. Curl up to a (fake) fireplace.

No, I’m not talking about the fireplace channel on your TV. I found this Wildwood Candle Co. soy candle in Portland, Oregon and the crackling wood wick and fragrance make me feel like I’m in front of a roaring fireplace. A study from the University of Alabama found that sitting by a fire reduced blood pressure, and for me, even the one candle does the trick. The Firelane I candle has notes of smoked woods, balsam, and pine, making it perfect for a city apartment wishing it was in the country.

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  1. Drink booze-free cocktails.

Drinking to de-stress is a common default, but alcohol really isn’t the best long-term solution. Non-alcoholic cocktails at bars are becoming more of a thing (Grub Street said so!), and you can do the same for yourself at home. Seedlip calls itself the “world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits.” Their Spice 94 is aromatic, earthy, and woodsy and their Garden 108 is herbal, grassy, and floral. Serve them with tonic or mixers.

Not convinced to go dry? A small British study found that “normal” drinkers who stopped drinking for five weeks reported better sleep and concentration.

 

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4. Indulge in a bath house visit.

Last year, I stumbled upon Aire Ancient Baths in Seville and a visit to the New York City location has been on my wishlist. Going to the candle-lit bath house is like a ritual: You move through each bath at your own pace, experiencing temperatures ranging from 102 to 50 degrees F, and taking a float in a salt water bath. The hot water relaxes muscle tension while the cold water is reinvigorating.

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  1. Hand wash your delicates.

 

Most of the time, you probably throw your bras into the laundry with your clothes, but taking the time to hand wash is worth it (and nicer to your bras!). Plus, most of the time is hands off when you leave your delicates in to soak. I use the Linden wash from Journelle, which is made from plant-derived ingredients and doesn’t have sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, or parabens. I love that the delicate scent lingers and reminds me to slow down.

For me, this covers de-stressing in a number of ways. First, it makes me slow down and practice a little mindfulness by paying attention to the process and noticing everything from the water temperature to the fragrance. Plus, a Princeton University study found that physical clutter increases stress, so checking laundry off my to-do list and moving clean clothes into my drawers is good for my brain.

Fore more ways to de-stress this crazy busy season check out the Hinted list here.

Holiday Travel Tips for a Stress-Free (and Stylish!) Season

Ahhhh, the holidays. Nothing gives us the warm fuzzies on a cold day quicker than dreaming about heading to see family and friends for a huge celebration. The anticipation of delish food, festive libations and presents (lots and lots of presents) leaves us with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads as we prep for the best season of the year. But nothing can kill our vibe like the nightmare that is holiday travel — so we’re open to any an all holiday travel tips we can get our hands on.

If the mere thought of holiday travel sends your stress levels through the roof, you’re not alone. The good news? You can take the edge off by being prepared before your trip.

More: How to Double Your Holiday Party Wardrobe This Year

Queue Up Your Entertainment

Holiday Travel Tips That'll Make This Season Way More Comfortable | Hinted
Image: Raw Talk With Sheena/Instagram

Whether you’re terrified of flying or just get anxiety when your mind is left idle, there’s nothing worse than hitting 35,000 feet before realizing you have nothing to keep your brain busy during a long flight. (Ditto for an especially long road trip.) Make sure you download, download, download the night before you’re scheduled to head out.

Obviously a book on your iPad is a good go-to, but Podcasts are super clutch when you don’t feel like concentrating on a storyline. Some of our favorites right now are Raw Talk with Sheena, That’s So Retrograde and This Past Weekend With Theo Von. Download a couple eps and you’ll be at your destination in no time.

Plan for Climate Change

Holiday Travel Tips That'll Make This Season Way More Comfortable | Hinted
Leopard Scarf, $50; at Mango

No, we’re not talking about the ice caps melting (though that is super important, too) we mean being aware of the weather where you’re taking off from versus where you’re landing. It can be a little jarring to leave LAX wearing shorts and sandals, only to find yourself in snow flurries when you touch down at your boyfriend’s hometown in Connecticut. Not only that, the climate on board planes and trains is always super unpredictable.

It’s all about the layering. Pack a sumptuous wrap (like this adorable leopard print one from Mango) that’s easy to throw around your shoulders — or take off if you’re heading from a colder climate to a warmer one. Make sure to wear comfy socks (sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes we’re quick to forget), solid shoes, long pants and a light shirt that breathes easy when you’re warm — but also works well paired with a cardigan when it gets chilly. This Long Blouson Sleeve Cardigan by Halogen is perfect to throw on over a light T.

So, yes, layering is perhaps one of the most important holiday travel tips to abide by, but that doesn’t mean we give the green light to look disheveled while you move from one destination to the next. Which brings us to our next tip…

Look Your Best

Holiday Travel Tips That'll Make This Season Way More Comfortable | Hinted
Bethan Velvet Joggers, $73; at Boden

When you look your best, you feel your best. And when you feel your best, you have the confidence to tackle any hiccups that might come your way during your travels.

But that does not mean you should sacrifice comfort. Luckily this season has a ton of trends that help you travel in style and comfort. Like these velvet joggers from Boden. Climate control, comfort and chicness all rolled into one delectable pant. It’s the holy trifecta of holiday travel style.

For more cute travel outfit ideas, check out holiday travel list here.

More: 5 Ways to Get Better Sleep — Tonight and Every Night!

Prep for Security Check

Holiday Travel Tips That'll Make This Season Way More Comfortable | Hinted
Sam Edelman Roya Studded Boot, $105; at Nordstrom

There’s a million and one things that make traveling stressful (packing and getting to the airport on time, for starts), but nothing makes our blood pressure skyrocket like waiting in line to go through TSA. Will I be able to get my shoes off quickly? Will I be able to find my ID after I get through? Will I get pulled aside for a full pat down? It’s a lot to think about while standing around in a small area packed with a million other anxious travelers.

But when you’re head is in the game before you get in line, making it through security is totally manageable. For starters, wear shoes that are solid, but slide off easily. A low-heeled bootie (like these from Sam Edelman) are super cute, but easy to take on and off. Plus, they are comfortable enough that you won’t be hobbling along when you’re rushing to get to your gate. These Golden Goose Superstar Sneakers or a pair of Chuck Taylors might be even more perfect, especially if you’re running late and will have to book it across the airport.

And don’t forget to check your purse for any liquids over 3 ounces the night before a flight! There’s nothing worse than having a brand new full size bottle of your favorite rose-scented face spray confiscated by a TSA agent. (Or getting pulled over for a more thorough security check for having liquid on your person.)

 

Now tell us your favorite tips for a stress-free holiday travel!

5 Ways to Get Better Sleep — Tonight and Every Night

One in 10 adults experience insomnia as a chronic condition, and about 50 percent have had trouble with it at some point in their life, according to the Cleveland Clinic. 50 percent! It’s a little bit jarring to think that so many of us have a hard time getting rest — but since you’re here reading this, we’d venture to guess that your one of those people that either have trouble falling asleep at night or are habitually wake up at 3 a.m. without being able to drift off into sweet slumber again. How to get a better night’s sleep is a question that plagues almost everyone’s mind at one time or another.

We’ve all heard the usual sleep hygiene tips like avoiding caffeine, exercising regularly and switching of electronic devices a couple hours before bed — but what happens when those supposedly tried-and-true tips don’t work?

We asked Nicole Kwan, a health writer and editor, to create a list of her best recommendations to give your body a fighting chance to fall into quality, restorative sleep and stay snoozing all night long.

Try out these Hints and see her full list here — but remember, chronic insomnia is a serious condition. If you can’t sleep for prolonged periods of time, please see your doctor.

More: Why You Should Be Using CBD Products Every Damn Day

1. Switch Up Your Lighting

You know that too much screen time before bed is a bad thing, but do you know why? They’re powered by blue light — and according to Harvard research, blue light at night can suppress the secretion of melatonin (the hormone that tells your body to switch into sleep mode). While any kind of light is bad for melatonin production on one level or another, Harvard researchers found that blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as green light and can shift circadian rhythms by twice as much.

Your phone already has a built-in bluelight filter option, but what about your actual lights? Turns out even LED bulbs that look white give off a bluer hue. Harvard research suggests using dim red lights for night lights because they found that red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin. Swap your normal nightstand bulb for one with a warmer, red hue, like Lighting Science’s GoodNight bulb.

2. Shower Before Hitting the Sack

Showering about 90 minutes before bed not only helps wash the day away, but some research shows it actually helps make you sleepy.

“The body naturally cools down as bedtime approaches, in sync with the circadian rhythm,” Dr. Janet K. Kennedy, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert in New York told the New York Times. “Showering artificially raises the temperature again and allows for a faster cool down, which seems to hasten sleep.”

To double down on your sleepy shower, use this softening body lotion from Lush after for its calming and balancing lavender. According to a study published on the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Lavender can cause central nervous system depression. Translation: It relaxes your nerves and makes you ready for bed.

More: 5 Expert Tips On How to Crush Your Health Goals During the Holidays

3. Roll on Some Essential Oils

Essential oils have been around since the dawn of time practically, but they’ve been enjoying a Renaissance of sorts for the past couple years — and for good reason. They totally work.

A body of research shows that essential oils can provide relief for disrupted sleep and improve sleep quality in adults,” says The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus. “A 2017 study compared the effects of aromatherapy and acupressure massage on sleep quality and overall quality of life in women. Researchers found that a blend of sleep-promoting essential oils worked more effectively to improve both sleep quality and quality of life than acupressure. The blended oil was also more effective at improving sleep than a single essential oil.”

So, in other words, blends rule. If your thoughts race when you’re trying to rest, start a new nighttime ritual with this 21 Drops Sleep Roll On. The essential oil blend includes organic sandalwood to help quiet the mind, organic palmarosa to reduce anxiousness, and organic ylang ylang to encourage peace. The ritual part comes in the application: Starting 30 minutes before bed, roll it in a circle five times to your temples, wrist, and neck and breathe. Repeat.

4. Wake Up With the “Sun”

When your phone is your alarm, your choice of tone always ends up being a little… jarring. The Philips Wake-Up Light offers a choice of five soothing nature sounds that won’t cause you to startle yourself awake.

But that’s not the most interesting part — the alarm simulates a sunrise, with light increasing gradually, which helps you wake up more naturally. The sound only chimes in when the “sun” is fully up. And remember how you’re supposed to avoid blue light at night because it squelches melatonin production? You want the opposite to happen in the morning, so exposing yourself to subtle blue light helps wake you, according to Very Well Health.

Our list writer Nicole Kwan has used the Wake-Up Light for about four years and she says it definitely makes waking up more pleasant and she’s more energized throughout the day.

5. Try a Weighted Blanket

We’ve seen them around as ways to help pets with anxiety, but turns out that weighted blankets might be just as soothing for humans.

There aren’t a lot of independent studies on weighted blankets, but researchers have found that deep pressure stimulation is calming for anxiety, and Raj Dasgupta, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California and a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says the blankets may help people with anxiety, depression and chronic pain sleep better, according to WebMD.

“It’s like having the best hug for a long period of time,” he says, adding the blankets may be ”a good alternative to life-long sedative hypnotic medications (sleeping pills) at night.”

Sounds like it’s worth giving a go, right? Try the Gravity Blanket, which is engineered to be about 10 percent of your body weight.

Do you have any tips for getting better sleep? Let us know in the comments!

5 Expert Tips On How to Crush Your Health Goals During the Holidays

For a lot of us, the “I’m never doing this to myself again” moment happens every Thanksgiving when we stuff ourselves silly with broccoli casserole, turkey, mashed potatoes and three pieces of pumpkin pie — and wash it all down with wine, wine and more wine. Turkey Day is the notorious kick-off of an unhealthy season, and every year we vow that this year things will be different. This year, we will we stay on track and stay healthy during the holidays. We won’t overeat during the time period between the last Thursday in November and December 31st ever again.

OK, back to reality. Of course we will slide off the mountain at some point during the holidays (what is Thanksgiving for?), but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep on track as a rule.

Nadja Pinnavaia, Founder & CEO of Euphebe Healthcare.

So how does one stay on track when there’s temptation lurking around every corner? Preparation is definitely key, and we are studying the list PreHoliday Body ReBoot top to bottom. It’s basically a manual to keep us healthy and sane all through November and December.

Plus, it’s written by Nadja Pinnavaia, Ph.D., who happens to be the Founder & CEO of Euphebe — a company committed to health and bringing back real food — so we know it’s legit.

“The list was inspired by how to combine having fun, looking after yourself and feeling festive while still feeling good,” says Nadja. “It is based upon the premise that if we get our core nutrition right by having nutritious, predominantly plant-based meals, we’ll feel better and have more energy.”

More: The Secret to Comfortable Holiday Dressing

Here are more of Nadja’s tips for staying healthy during the holidays.

1. Start Your Day Off on the Right Foot

Nutiva Raw-Shelled Hempseed, $13.48; at Amazon

That’s right, the old adage rings true: You can’t be your best if you don’t eat a good breakfast. And if you eat something nutritionally satisfying and filling in the morning, you’ll be less tempted by those Christmas cookies your co-worker brings into the office.

“Starting off with a good breakfast is important, which is why I start off with a slice of Ezekiel bread topped with avocado, hemp seeds and some baby spinach,” Nadja told us.

Hemp seeds (like these from Nutiva) are loaded with protein ad omega-3s that are good for your brain, so meal is a gift that keeps giving throughout the day.

2. Make Time for Meditation

Our days can get a little hectic when it’s not the holiday season, so a lot of us start to feel a little overloaded and fried-out when the holidays hit. Taking a moment to get some zen in is key during this stressful time of year.

“Days are fun yet packed, so a bit of meditation in the evening helps the brain noise quiet down,” advises Nadja.

3. Work It

Physique 57 OnDemand, $19.95 a month

Indulging this time of year is inevitable. We’re not gonna deny it. That just means exercise is a even more important to keep us feeling good.

“I think exercise is a great way to feel better, especially after a night out,” says Nadja.

The only problem? Who wants to go to the gym after after chowing down on chocolate Santas or hitting the party circuit extra hard? Not us. The key is staying motivated with exercise that you actually enjoy. Nadja loves Physique 57, which is OnDemand so you can work out from the comfort of your own home.

4. Get Your ZZZs

Stress makes it hard to sleep, which makes things tough when you need all the energy you can muster to shop for gifts or hit holiday soirees. Make sure to keep track of how much rest you are getting so you don’t over-do it.

“I love my Withings Steel HR watch, that monitors everything including my sleep!” says Nadja.

More: A History of the “No White After Labor Day” Rule (& Why We’re Ignoring It)

5. Do Good 

The ReNew Lightweight Half-Zip Puffer, $98; at Everlane

‘Tis the season to give back, right? Nothing beats the holiday blahs better than doing good.

“I really care about what’s happening to our planet,” says Nadja. “I know that a plant-based diet massively limits the drain on our planetary resources, so when I saw Everlane was making jackets from recycled plastic, I thought that was super cool!”

 

 

Check out Nadja’s full list here and then tell us: What are your tips for staying healthy during the holidays?

Halloween Hater’s Survival Guide: Costumes You’ll Actually Wear After the Holiday

Remember back in the day when Halloween was, like, the funnest day of the year? We diligently plotted our costumes for weeks, eagerly anticipating the parade at school when everyone got to show off their work.

Sure, in reality it was just a lap around the blacktop next to the kickball field where the P.E. teacher made us run a mile twice a week — but for an hour a year that blacktop was transformed into a magical procession of ghouls, zombies and Princess Ariels. It was that special time in our lives when you could sprinkle some fake blood in your hair or throw a sheet over year head before heading out at dusk to plunder the neighborhood for fun-sized candy bars.

But somewhere along the way, a lot of us fell off track. Maybe it’s because the costume ante got upped sometime around freshman year of college, and all of a sudden it felt like we were required to spend $500 to show up to a Halloween party in style.

Now there are pretty much two types of people in this world: People who live for Halloween and dropping their life savings on a get-up that they will wear approximately 4 hours of their life…. and the rest of us who are just kinda “meh.”

More: How to Transform Your Fall Style Without Blowing Your Budget

The Case for Wearing a Costume

Easy Halloween Costumes You'll Actually Wear After the Holiday | Hinted
Party City “Basic Witch” Beanie, $5

But here’s the deal. It’s super easy to resign ourselves to stay at home to hand out candy while wearing one of those “This IS My Costume” t-shirts moms used to rock in the ’90s, but we think this Halloween it’s imperative to bring a little magic into the world by wearing a costume. It’s been a crazy couple years for everyone, and — at the risk of getting a little cornball — what the world needs now is for everyone to take a night off to have a little fun. A chance for our inner child to come out and play.

Still, we get that it’s hard to justify spending so much money for one night (or a couple of parties if we’re lucky), but when you strategically invest in some pieces that you can actually use after October, what have you got to lose? We’re taking a ton of inspiration from the list 6 Last-Minute Halloween Looks, No Costume Required! because all of the shoppable items make for great costumes, but are also stuff we’d wear every day.

Easy Halloween Costumes You'll Actually Wear After the Holiday | Hinted
Topshop Animal Print Jumpsuit, $60

Like take this animal print jumpsuit, for example. All you need is some ears, and you’ve got yourself a fierce Halloween ensemble and an outfit that will take you all through the holiday party season. Same goes for this Bardot lace body-con dress. Just add a delicate masquerade mask, and you’ve got a costume, plus something to wear on New Year’s Eve.

And this Free People black polka dot top paired with this “Basic Witch” beanie pull double duty for a costume and hanging out at a coffee shop on any old random weekend.

Check out the rest of the list here, and then go get that costume. Do it for the Pink Power Ranger who was so excited to go trick-or-treating all those years ago.

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