Calm the eff down: Relaxation tips for a better December

Sex will help you feel less stressed. (There. We got that out of the way.) But you don’t need to have a big O every time you start to get tense. Here are some of our favorite ways to quiet the mind and soothe the soul when things get all crazytown.

  • LOL. Don’t type it. Do it. In a battle between laughter and stress, laughter wins every time. View something funny every day this month. Start here.
  • Walk. Outside. During daylight. Yep, even if it’s raining ice daggers. (Are ice daggers actually a thing? If yes, please skip your walk that day.) Exercise, fresh air, and sunlight work together to bring down stress levels and increase happiness hormones. Doing this is even more important during short days and cold weather.
  • Bedtime yoga will send you off to dreamland. Watch and learn a series of relaxing poses you can do right there on your bed.
  • Warmth works. You don’t have to be 80 to enjoy a good heating pad or hot water bottle. Take a bubble bath. Soak your feet in warm water. Sit by a fire. Bust out the flannel PJs and burrow under blankets. Warmth relaxes the body.
  • Go retro and take a coffee break. At work, home, school, wherever. Do it between breakfast/lunch and lunch/dinner if you can. Research has found that small, healthy breaks for food and socializing actually increase productivity. So just do it.
  • Try some heavy petting. (No. Not that kind.) Spending time with animals will chill you out. Pet your pet. Pet someone else’s pet. Volunteer at the SPCA. Or just look here.
  • Hug it out. Hugging has powerful stress-busting properties even if you do it with your clothes on. The average hug lasts just three seconds, but try to hold on to someone for at least 20 seconds and see if it makes your day a little better.
  • Speak your mind. The holidays have been known to bring on the blues. If you need to talk, you can start with friends or family, but trained therapists are great when you need to vent and release and get it all out. Here’s how to find one.
  • Three little words: I’m thankful for When you’re stressed out and feeling down on everything, making a tiny gratitude list can give your mood a bump. Try it. Jot down four things that make you feel grateful then close your eyes and spend five minutes thinking about them for instant joy.
  • Avoid am-I-pregnant anxiety. Pregnancy scares suck. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you by using an easy, super effective birth control method.
  • Get dirty. (Again. Not that kind.) If you’re lucky enough to live where you can still garden, go plant something. Digging in the dirt actually decreases cortisol and elevates mood.

Art projects, volunteering, meditation, getting enough sleep, and sharing a meal with friends are all proven to alleviate stress too. What works for you this time of year? We would love to hear your tips in the comments below this Frisky Friday.