The holiday season is joyful, but it can be overwhelming too. Are you stuck covering for a colleague who is traveling? Maybe you’re already burned out on holiday events and family traditions or can’t seem to keep up with finding unique gifts for every person on your list. In any instance, we put together 12 ultra-quick ways to decompress when things feel chaotic.

Smiling woman wearing antler headband at Christmas


Go for the green tea. L-theanine is the magic ingredient here — it’s a natural chemical that helps relieve anger and anxiety. Swap your favorite Starbucks holiday drink for a green tea if you’re feeling stressed out while holiday shopping.

Eat chocolate. One square of dark chocolate (about 1.3 ounces) can help calm your nerves by regulating cortisol (the stress hormone). Even more, it can help stabilize your metabolism.

Chew gum. Pop in a piece of gum for quick relief — chewing gum has also been shown to reduce the body’s level of cortisol while lowering anxiety.

Munch on mango. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get down on some dried mango or reach for a sweet piece of the fruit, consider this it: The linalool inside the fruit has been proven to lower stress levels.


Meditate. Feeling frazzled but have a couple of minutes to spare? Meditation is a great go-to activity, and all it takes is about two minutes of quiet focus per day to ease your stress or reduce depression.

Lay down. Take a load off! Lay down for five minutes with your feet up and eyes closed; a brief reprieve can help you find focus and give you the energy you need to continue tackling tasks.

Count backward. Start from 20 and count down slowly in your head, breathing in and out each time. The intentional focus will help you re-center in seconds.

Breathe. Simple breathing exercises can help you manage stressful situations, like managing an overflowing inbox when covering for colleagues who are OOO during the holiday season or before attending a seasonal bash with a new S.O.


Squeeze a stress ball. Stress balls exist for a reason! Pick one up and give it a squeeze a few times. You can also try rolling golf balls under your feet for a similar calming effect on your feet.

Wash the dishes. Repetitive motion can help you relax, whether you’re folding laundry, doing dishes, or knitting. Pick something fun or productive you can do several times, and watch yourself unwind.

Organize your life. Feelings of stress and anxiety can intensify when you feel disorganized. Nip this nail-biting feeling in the bud by keeping track of your shopping lists, appointments, work tasks, to-dos, and receipts. When you stay ahead of the curve, you’ll be prepared and have less to worry about.

Tap into flower power.Flowers will make you feel happier, so go ahead and admire, smell, or buy a bouquet to take the edge off. You deserve it.


Seek sunshine. A dose of vitamin D does a gal good. Sunshine, especially in the middle of winter, can elevate your mood and help regulate emotions. Can’t find any natural rays? Consider investing in a lightbox. This is a proven solution for managing SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Step outside. A minute of fresh air might be all you need to relax a little bit. Step away from your desk or duck outside after you’re stuck inside doing chores all day.

Stretch! Quick and easy stretches such as touching your toes or reaching for the sky can help you feel relaxed and ease any tension you may feel. Have a few minutes to spare? Try alternating between Warrior, Lunge, or Mountain poses for extra focus and increased blood flow.

Walk around the block. No matter if it’s rain or shine, warm or cold, taking some steps — even just walking a block or two — can help you relax. Though not quite the same, hitting a treadmill may help in instances where winter weather makes it truly impossible to sneak outside.

How do you relax during chaotic moments? Share your secrets with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)