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You’ve been hustling since mid-November to make sure your clients look and feel fabulous from Thanksgiving into the New Year. During the holiday craze, though, it’s easy for beauty professionals to neglect their own needs. Taking care of yourself is crucial! It’s no surprise that with increased momentum at the salon, overflow-only parking at the mall, second cousins and long lost friends coming to town, and the need to prepare a feast for the whole family, stress levels increase during the holidays — and women are particularly susceptible to the pressure. It’s time to unwind, and we’ve rounded up a few fail-proof tips for finding your holiday Zen.  

Just Breathe

Ready to de-stress? Start by relaxing your breathing. Mindful breathing is one of the best ways to keep calm when you’re feeling particularly anxious. Deep breathing can help you to disengage from uneasy thoughts and feelings, and in turn, triggers a relaxation response. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise: Sit tall, and place the tip of your tongue against the back of your front teeth; breathe in through your nose to the count of four, hold your breath while counting to seven, then exhale through your mouth for eight beats, making a “woosh” sound. Repeat the cycle three times.

Be a Poser

Don’t forget about yoga! This mind-body practice usually combines breathing, meditation and postures, and may reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lower your heart rate. When you’re feeling drained, drop-in on a class at your local yoga center, or roll out a mat in your living room, and work your way into down-dog, tree and crow poses.  

Maintain Routines

Your schedule is probably jam-packed with last-minute bookings, holiday parties, family obligations and more. Our bodies crave consistency; when we’re overloaded, though, our daily routines tend to fall by the wayside, creating some serious stress. To get through the end of holiday season feeling sane, it’s important to prioritize your workouts, book club meetings, and daily habits. Your body will thank you.

Sleep Tight

Healthy sleep habits are critically important. If your normal sleep schedule is off this month, try a few of these tips from the Cleveland Clinic. Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime. (If you’re starving, opt for something light, such as a glass of milk or fresh fruit.) Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary by eliminating noise and ambient light. Calm your mind before bedtime. If you find yourself worrying about tomorrow’s tasks when you hunker down, grab a paperback book or listen to your favorite podcast; if your mind’s really racing, keep a bedside journal for jotting down worries and thoughts. A cup of decaffeinated tea can be soothing. We also like Good Day Chocolates’ Chocolate with Sleep, which contains a small dose of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. 

Move It

We get it: Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind this month. It’s recommended that adults get at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise weekly. What’s more, research has found that workouts can boost your mood for up to 12 hours post-sweat. Studies indicate that most Americans exercise less during the winter months, according to Ashton Atilano, fitness manager at Chuze Fitness in Denver. If you don’t feel like hitting the gym, Atilano recommends finding a few cardio-based activities that’ll “make it feel like you aren’t working out,” as she puts it. Dancing to holiday music is a great place to start. (Pssst: check out Sola’s holiday playlist!) And remember: You don’t have to meet your weekly exercise quota all at once; ten minutes here and there adds up.

Go Outside

Even five minutes in nature can help reduce stress and boost your mood. If cold weather isn’t an issue, block off time for a hike or midday walk through your local park. If you’re stationed in a frosty region, try embracing the native climate. Learn a new sport, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or ice-skating, which burns up to 400 calories an hour. Go sledding with your kids, or bundle up after work, and scour your neighborhood by foot for the best light displays.

Be Picky

You can’t go to every party on every weekend night for the entire month. There! We said it. If you’re hoping to stay sane this season, we recommend taking care of yourself by declining at least one or two invitations. Pick a few special parties and traditions, and participate in those wholeheartedly. Keep in mind, too, that getting involved in a charitable project is a fantastic way to stay grounded.

Pamper Yourself

You’re been pampering your clients all year. It’s your turn, now, to relax while somebody spoils you. Book a massage, a facial or -- if you have the time and resources -- a spa day with multiple treatments. If spa treatments aren’t in the cards, make time for a hot bubble bath instead! Grab a glass of wine, and turn up the tunes while you unwind: Whether it's Michael Bublé’s Christmas album or the latest from A Tribe Called Quest, research shows that hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

Ditch the Technology

In this increasingly digital age, it’s hard not to get caught up in the ceaseless cell phone buzzes and email alerts, which keep our bodies in fight-or-flight mode due to bursts of adrenaline. Sure, you’ll have to stay connected for your clients. But why not turn off your gadgets once in a while, especially during quality time with family and friends over the holidays. 

Embrace Imperfection

Picture perfect holidays are for families in Williams-Sonoma catalogues! The world is not going to end if the house is a little cluttered or dinner is on the table a few minutes late. Stop obsessing. Instead, focus on enjoying the time you have with the special people in your life — no matter how imperfect it might be. If you can train yourself to stop sweating the small stuff, your holiday will be infinitely more Zen!


Dr. Mercola website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/23/holiday-stress-relief.aspx

Cleveland Clinic website: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/11/7-ways-to-get-better-sleep-during-the-holidays/

Good Day Chocolate website: http://www.gooddaychocolate.com/products/sleep

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