I have often thought, why are the holidays so stressful?


The answer is actually quite simple: The holidays are stressful because we make it that way, period.


We could blame it on the traffic, all the cranky people at the mall and even (gasp!) the angry people in the church parking lot. But in reality, we allow other people’s actions, remarks and attitudes affect us all too much around the holidays.


We get all wrapped up (no pun intended) in all the things that don’t truly matter. Being ready in time for Christmas, having the tree up by a certain date, getting all our shopping done…


All of that is nice and most definitely part of the holiday spirit, but let’s be honest. Don’t you let it stress you out at least a little?


I can’t speak for you, maybe you are not one of these people. But I, for one, have to calmly talk myself through at least one holiday meltdown each year.


We can get so frazzled overthinking every little thing that it takes away from what is supposed to be the most joyful time of the year.


If I could give ONE critical tip to make your holidays a little lighter this year, it would be this:


Soak your feet.


This sounds quite hilarious stated on its own. You might be thinking seriously? Are you joking?


I am so NOT joking! This little trick does work and I will tell you why. But first, here’s how:


1.    Grab a large bowl, bucket or foot bath tub and fill it with hot water (not scalding but hot enough so it can stay warm for at least 15 minutes.

2.    Add ½ cup Epsom salts and stir gently to dissolve.

3.    Add 2-5 drops essential oil of your choice (I prefer lavender for its relaxing effects).

4.    Soak feet for at least 15 minutes.

5.    BONUS: If you’re feeling frisky, place a cold, damp cloth on your forehead, prop your head up with a pillow and relax. Breathe.


Why it works:


Hot water vasodilates (opens blood vessels). When you place your feet in the hot water, blood vessels at the feet open and draw blood to the area. Hot water also opens pores, so you will easily absorb the Epsom salts (which are simply Magnesium).


By placing a cold, damp cloth on your forehead, you are now vasoconstricting (closing blood vessels) at the head, which in turn pushes blood away from the head and down toward the feet. So, in essence you are getting a sort of “drawing” effect of blood being pulled down toward the feet.


Where blood flows is where activity is taking place in the body. To draw blood away from the head means we are drawing it temporarily away from the brain, so we can turn off our thoughts for a few minutes out of the day.


Magnesium from the Epsom salts is great for relaxation. It relaxes muscles, and some even take a magnesium supplement before bed time to help them relax and sleep. Magnesium is particularly well absorbed through the skin, especially soft tissue areas (such as the bottoms of the feet), so this is the perfect method to absorb this necessary mineral into the blood stream.


A great combination of relaxation, aromatherapy and meditation, this will surely get you out of a crappy mindset after a long bustling day of shopping at the mall, or being around your crazy (yes, I said it) family.


In addition, it takes very little equipment and prep time, and is super cheap.


Next time you’re feeling the holiday stress, dip your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath and see how you feel afterwards. This is one of my go-to tricks not just around the holidays, but all through the year.


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