4 Calming Escapes to Beat Holiday Chaos

4 Calming Escapes to Beat Holiday Chaos

Get a grip on holiday stress with these four ideas for calming mini escapes.

By: Helen Jane Hearn

My home hosts friends and family nearly nonstop from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. During the rush, I am often asked how I appear to be so stress free when there's so much to get done.

My answer? Mini escapes.

By taking small breaks during busy days, I can prioritize my mental health during the most hectic weeks of the year. The plus side is that everything can be done in my own home. Here are four things that help me get through the final two months of the year.

1. Water Therapy
Baths don't need to take hours to feel like an escape. Just a 20-minute soak can calm a spinning mind and bring peace to fitful sleepers.


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When my evening schedule doesn't permit a calm escape, morning baths are another sneaky way to fit in a soak. They take only a little bit longer than a shower — but that contemplative soak can keep me rolling cheerfully throughout the day.

2. Face the Music
There’s nothing like a new song to keep you going. Music has been proven to boost your mood during anything from long drives to working out. If you’re looking to do a little laughing and learning while you’re out and about, podcasts and audiobooks can keep you entertained for hours.

3. Small Gifts to Yourself
Getting yourself something right off the bat helps suppress that feeling that the entire season feels like you’re stretching yourself as thin as possible to get everything done. That little gift reminds you why you’re doing what you’re doing: to show love to family and friends.

4. Shifting Focus
When you find yourself doing something you dislike (for me it was peeling potatoes) try thinking about the root of what you’re doing. You’re stuck in traffic — but why? You’re getting a gift for someone you love. If you think about the result of what you’re doing as opposed to the action itself, you’re more likely to keep your cool and focus on what really matters.

When you prioritize time for yourself, holidays are filled with love and peace. (When mom’s happy, everyone’s happy.) Taking breaks during the holiday season helps you look forward to a season of fun for all your loved ones — not a couple months of nonstop stress!

Helen has written about Internet culture and home entertaining at her eponymous site Helen Jane since 1998. Napa Valley-based, she is a certified specialist of wine and founder of Cheesewhizzes, a nationwide cheese-tasting club. She also captains her bocce team, Joanie Loves Bocce.

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