11 ways to de-stress this holiday season

The holidays are traditionally a season filled with joy, warmth, and friends and family, but those picture-perfect moments don’t happen without time and energy. All the hustle and bustle of the season can also be a source of stress and anxiety, and that anxiety can have a negative impact on your smile: Teeth grinding, canker sores and cold sores are all potential issues that might arise from too much stress. On top of that, stress can lead to falling behind on keeping up your oral health.

It's important to find time to relax and refresh. If the weather outside is frightful, here are some simple ways you can create a delightful indoor retreat.

Reimagine an existing space

Start by cutting the clutter. Having a less cluttered space can immediately help you feel more relaxed and less stressed. If the idea of tidying the house seems overwhelming, start small. Go through a bathroom cabinet or storage closet to get rid of old and expired items. You’ll feel accomplished and gain the peace of mind that comes from freshly stocked supplies.

Get comfy and cozy. The quality of the light changes as the seasons do, so winter can be a good time to move some furniture around to make the most of reduced daylight. When night falls, get snuggly with a blanket or pillow. You can read, meditate or just take in the view — and if you notice your jaw is clenched, move the tip of your tongue between your teeth to relax your muscles.

Add some greenery to the spaces you spend the most time in. Plants can reduce stress and instantly make you feel calmer. If you really want to bring the great outdoors inside, play some nature sounds, too!

Create a calming retreat

Take a relaxing soak in the tub. You can light aromatherapy candles and add some soothing salts to help reduce anxiety and stress. You can also help set the perfect mood with a tailored playlist. Relaxing lights, scents and music can help your worries float away.

Break out the yoga mat and practice the basics. You don’t need to be as flexible as a gymnast to benefit from yoga. Simple forms like child’s pose are easy to do and help calm the mind. To practice this pose, kneel with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart, then lower your forehead down to your yoga mat. Pull your tongue away from the roof of your mouth to release tension in your jaw. Try seated yoga if you have a hard time getting down and up off the floor.

Put an essential oil diffuser on your nightstand and practice deep breathing. If you’re feeling exhausted, power naps of 20 to 45 minutes are just enough time to rest without falling into a deep sleep and feeling groggy when your alarm goes off. 

Sip a cup of tea. Try green tea for a boost of antioxidants, chamomile tea before bed to help you sleep and peppermint or ginger for digestion. Whatever tea you try, keep it simple and don’t add too much honey or lemon, which can be bad for your smile.

Give a room a second purpose

Turn a corner into a Zen zone. Find a spot in your home that feels peaceful and then personalize it. That could mean anything from surrounding yourself with candles or essential oils to just keeping a book there to relax and unwind.

Try your hand at art. The kitchen table makes a great small art studio. You can also turn this into a family event. Sharing creativity with others is good for you, too!

Be all about that couch life. Wear loose soft clothes, find a favorite blanket or pillow and use this common space to refresh your spirits. Turn on a favorite show, relax with friends or family or get down on the floor and cuddle with a pet. Turn your living room into a space to relax, and not just entertain.

Create a screen-free sanctuary. Unplugging every once in a while is good for your mental health. Create a space where you can unwind without the pressure of text messages, app alerts and social media notifications. Glowing screens can also disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, so reducing screen time may help you sleep more soundly — and avoid the oral issues caused by poor sleep habits.