Learning how to avoid stress is a gift in itself. Yes, destressing has the potential to be an even better present than that red purse you've been eyeing. When stress levels are lower, you'll likely sleep better, think more clearly and maybe even have more willpower when it comes to all those tempting holiday treats. And the best part is, it's even easier than you think: Just a few small changes will have you in the "fast lane" to a more relaxing and enjoyable holiday season. So, regardless of how busy you are, these tricks will help you squeeze in some time to "just breathe."

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Remember the reason for the season.
This one is really easy: It's all about focus. Yes, your Christmas list is long! (There's mom, dad, siblings, aunts, cousins, a bunch of besties, los vecinos, the lady at the cafeteria at work…) We get it. But don't fall into the trap of focusing just on buying things for the sake of giving a gift. It's about finding that perfect something that captures a memory or special moment and presenting it to someone you care about. We stress so much about crossing names off the list that the meaning behind the gifts often gets lost in the shuffle.

Hold up, wait a minute…
So, you finally found a parking spot after circling around the mall for what seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r and now you've got your purse and keys in your hand and you're ready to dash out and get to shopping…well, just stop! Put your hand on your stomach and take a brief moment to feel it rise and fall as you breathe. Breathe in, breathe out and count to three. Repeat this simple exercise for one minute and carry on, leaving that frantic feeling behind!

Feel free to head for the hills.
Sometimes, you just need to escape for a bit. And if you have a sweet ride with all-wheel drive, like the Buick Envision, taking a scenic detour is a great option. Take the day (or just the morning) and head to the mountains or the beach or any scenic spot, even if you only spend a few minutes taking in the vista once you arrive at your destination – the journey itself will help reset your mind, too. You'll definitely leave refreshed.

Regroup before you join the group
You might feel like you're all over the place during the holiday season. Travel can feel overwhelming, but you don't want to carry those emotions into Aunt Clara's holiday party or your abuelita's Christmas dinner. Before you get out of the car, close your eyes and visualize the positive experience that awaits you (or if you're maybe dreading the event a little – hey, it happens! – try to picture a scenario that makes you happy or relaxed instead). Leave any negativity behind you and emerge refreshed to join family and friends in celebration.

Image via iStock

 

Topics: holiday  stress