By Nicole Kwan
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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.