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This time of year we all want to create space to stop for a few minutes out of the normal busyness of our lives to enjoy special moments with those we love. Maybe you personally love to work a puzzle or a play a game with your kids or spouse or curl up by the fire and have a conversation (without any mobile devices in your hands) or to read a book.

As you are hustling around to find the perfect gifts, filling out your Christmas cards, or baking yummy foods try not to put your health on the back-burner. I know how stressful this time of year can feel with so many things to accomplish in so little time. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I heard a wise man once say:

Stress is a choice.

You and I can say “no” to stress or the things in our lives that are causing it. When we don’t, the damage stress causes is far worse than not crossing one more item off the To-Do List.  When you feel your stress level rising, here are a few things Nathan and I do.

1.  Pray

We’ve all heard to count to 10 and breathe when you feel like you’re going to blow a gasket. But have you ever actually tried it? As soon as you start to hit “frantic mode” (you know, the moment right before you have an all-out melt-down), go somewhere quiet for 3 minutes, breath, and pray. It doesn’t change your problem, work load, or reality, but it will calm you enough to possibly change your perspective.

2. Reset Your Perspective

I’ve been telling myself a lot lately when things don’t go as planned that as bad as this seems, “This is still a 1st World problem.”  You know what I mean? We get so “out of sorts” over things that truly are “1st world problems.” Even something like mice in your van is a 1st world problem because at least we have a van!! (read about our mice adventure if you want a good giggle!).

Proper perspective changes things.

When I need perspective change, I don’t just think about all the kids in Africa who are starving and therefore I should be thankful (although that’s true).  I actually stop and think about how loved I am…ultimately by my heavenly Father. I don’t know what your faith or beliefs are, but I know we wouldn’t have made it through the loss of our son, as well as just daily life and stress you and I both experience without Jesus. I’ve learned that nothing is impossible with Him. When I place all the stress of my current situation in His hands, I walk away lighter, fully loved and confident.

3. Supply Additional Nutrients

Did you know that vitamins B and C protect your body from stress? But they are also used up quickly under stress (because they’re doing their job of protecting). If you aren’t supplying additional B, C, and other vitamins, minerals, and even protein during stressful times, you will quickly end up depleted, sick, and, if you’re like me, you’ll end up with a big, fat migraine headache!

The easiest thing to do is take doTERRA Lifelong Vitality. We do this daily, but make sure over the Holidays not to miss a day! The powerful nutrients and essential oils provided in this pack will help your body handle stress far better over the holidays!

And three of my favorite essential oils to use when I’m feeling stressed are:

  • Wild Orange
  • Frankincense
  • Balance


4. Turn Off the TV

You’re not alone if you think that flipping on NetFlix in the evening after a long day will relax you. But studies show it does the EXACT opposite. Late night television stimulates the brain, causing you to sleep worse and be restless.

Instead of TV in the evenings this holiday season, resist the urge to grab the clicker and grab a good book. Or if you don’t like to read, lay in bed or on the couch, close your eyes, and listen to an audiobook. Reading for just 10 minutes a day will help you finish 3 books a month.

So by turning off the Late Night Show and grabbing a book you could be less stressed and read through 36 books in one year!

5. BURST, Baby, BURST!

One of my favorite “de-stressing” secrets is short bursts of exercise. When you’ve been staring at the computer far too long, are up early in the morning and aren’t sure you’ll make it through the day, or feel like you’re in the middle of Family Circus with your kids running around the house screaming, stop and BURST.

I’m serious.

You will feel like a million bucks!!

Stand in place and do Stationary Sprints for 20 seconds. Then catch your breath. Then bust out a set of push-ups (yes, doing them on your knees is totally fine!) for 20 seconds as hard as you can. After you catch your breath, do one more set of Sprints in place.

Your kids will laugh at you, your co-workers may disown you, and your spouse may roll their eyes at you. But hey, who cares? You’ll be feeling great again so who cares what they think!!

One holiday season, in addition to all the crazy of this time of year, I was spending a lot of time at the library or Books A Million working on my book. In between bouts of writing, guess what I would do? You got it! BURST!

But here’s the secret in a public place – not being seen (and maybe I shouldn’t care). But I’ve found the perfect location…the bathroom. I go in (and make sure no one is there) then claim the largest bathroom.  Then it’s BURST time. I do a set of Stationary Sprints, Monkey Jumps, and Bicep Curl Squats and then I’m good to go. 🙂

I know “bursting” in the bathroom can be taken a VERY wrong way, but get your mind out of the gutter.  I was exercising people! Who cares what anyone thinks as you exit the bathroom, panting and sweaty from your workout! I feel much better, my brain is clear, and stress…what’s that?

What are some tips that you use during the holidays to de-stress?  Share them below! And please, oh, please…SOMEBODY share with me if you do a set of BURST exercises in a bathroom (I know that sounds terrible. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. When you sit for hours, you start to not care anymore what anyone thinks and start to care more about how your body is feeling at the moment!).

Or am I the only crazy one?