Kris Carr

Emotional Health

How to Stress Less This Winter

Hello Gorgeous,

Note: This blog was written before the Covid-19 pandemic transformed our lives in so many ways. The stress now comes in even bigger ways—from loss of loved ones, to loneliness, job changes, home-schooling, strained relationships, etc. These tips can help. Now, onto our blog…

The holidays: A time to celebrate family, friends, tradition and spirit. And yet, we often limp through the experience and feel wrung out on the other end. Not this year.

This year, I invite you to look at the holidays with your well-being in mind.

The best way to protect your health and happiness is to schedule it. Otherwise, wrapping paper, cocktail parties and holiday recitals are going to eat up every inch of your bandwidth—leaving you with sniffles and sautéed nerves on January 2nd.

Here are 7 Ways to Stay Well this Holiday.

1. Calm your mind.

Meditation and conscious breathing train your body to pause and relax when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. When your mind and body are in balance, decision-making becomes easier and coping with overwhelming situations becomes second nature. Also, mediation doesn’t have to take long. Even 10 minutes can change everything. Check out my Pep Talk meditation track for free! Try it out here.

2. Practice conscious breathing.

Busy shopping malls and emotionally challenging family members can jack up our anxiety. The next time you feel your stress level rising, stop and practice conscious breathing. Take a couple relaxing breaths by inhaling through your nose to the count of 4, holding that breath for 7 seconds and then exhaling through your mouth to the count of 8. Do this as much and as often as needed.

3. Drink a lot.

While holiday cocktails can be festive, it’s easy to overdue it. That’s why it’s important to stay hydrated. The solution: Drink more water and don’t abandon your juicing practice. Plan your self-care success by prepping your juice ingredients the night before a gathering. Start your party day with an energizing green drink and make an extra serving for when you get home. This is a great way to nourish your body after a night of libations.

4. Squeeze in a quickie.

If you’re too busy to hit your favorite spin class, do a speedy online workout instead. It’ll lift your spirits and your buns. Try downloading a few free (or low-cost) apps with short guided workouts (examples: Pocket Yoga, Fitocracy, or Sworkit). If you like gadgets and data, get a Fitbit, which tracks your steps and your sleep patterns so you know how much activity and rest you’re getting each day.

5. Take a cat nap. Meow.

Set your alarm for 30 minutes or less, lie down, close your eyes and relax. This isn’t meant to be a long, deep sleep. Short, light naps restore alertness, cognitive function and memory, leaving you feeling refreshed. They also improve your mood and help you think clearly. In just 6 minutes of sleep, wakefulness can be restored and performance and learning can be enhanced. If you have trouble relaxing, the Pzizz app provides music and a guided meditation to help you zzz like a pro.

6. Follow the little black dress plan.

A simple black dress is a staple in my closet. And, the same approach can be applied to food. You don’t need much to be glamorous at an event or in the kitchen. Be realistic about how much time you’ll have to create elaborate, labor-intensive meals. Instead, opt for simple recipes with wow factor. Batch cook soups and stews (my Crazy Sexy Chili is perfect!) and freeze a second serving—this will cut your time in the kitchen in half. Check out my recipe section or my cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen. And if you’re worried about how to handle constant food temptations this time of year, check out my tips here.

7. Get organized.

Whether you’re a family of one or many, getting organized will ease your mind. Take 15 minutes to review the calendar. Do you need to coordinate with your partner on something? Any outstanding questions weighing on you? Maybe there’s an engagement you want to cancel or a weekend you want to block out for no obligations. Gather your thoughts and remember how you want to feel this holiday season. Spacious? Connected? Centered? Adjust your plans accordingly.

Think of these tips as an investment not only in yourself, but in everyone around you. Let’s face it, when you’re unhappy, everyone suffers. However, when you pace yourself and tend to your well-being, you give yourself a rest so you can give everyone else your best.

Your turn: How will you take care of yourself this holiday season? Declare it in the comments below. The more the merrier!

Peace & holiday health,

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  1. Martin Johansson says:

    Thank you Kris! You give me inspiration to strive to be better everyday. I’m so impressed by you and I’m grateful to share this time on earth with you. Thanks for sharing! Love /Martin

  2. Lindsey says:

    I invite my family to join me on a walk or practice yoga / exercise a few days before we get together. This way, it’s on both our radars and we can motivate each other. I also volunteer to do most of the cooking. That way I can ensure there are plenty of healthy choices (plus it’s a great way to expose my meat-eating, fast food loving relatives to some goodness without them even knowing it)! Thanks for all the holiday recipes and tips Kris!

  3. Kimarie says:

    Kris, just want to say how amazing you are. I love the inspiration and advice that I receive from you in my email box. I am grateful for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  4. Lysander says:

    Thank you for the great advice. It is a great wake up before the holidays start. I am going to try to stay mindful of this.

  5. Kelly says:

    I’m not usually excited to hear the emails multiplying in my inbox… except for when it’s from YOU! You’re always so inspiring and get me to really focus and reconnect w/ what’s important – when it seems like the day can take me away from it. Thank you! My life is richer since finding you!

  6. Whitney says:

    Thanks for these great ideas, Kris! It’s funny, I was just reading another blog post before this, talking about a self-care AM routine that I decided to implement this holiday season to keep me balanced! (See it here: Your PDF will definitely come in handy to organize what I’ll do when, and to make sure I make time for it. Thanks! 🙂

  7. Mary Lee says:

    One major remedy for me during this frantic, stressful time is to remember just what these times are truly about…these are the “Holy Day” even if you do not follow any religious traditions. This is not a time to spent all your time and money to prove how generous or loving you are. It is a quiet time of reflection…time to look up at the night sky and ask yourself “who are you?, what am I here for? what is my life purpose? Am I living the life I am meant to live?” All the world’s pursuits at this time is make material possessions reflect the love you wish to express. Express that love you have in small ways that do no harm to the environment or to your body and mind. Or look at the lack of love you have around you and be with what it is that is holding you back. Who you are is pure love because the Source has never left you nor have you left your Source. “If you yearn for it, seek it. You cannot define it. You cannot predict the outcome, but you seek Knowledge because it is natural for you to do so. For Knowledge contains the memory of your Creator, of your help and of your meaning in the world.”
    So I wish you all moments of peace, stillness, love and gratitude for the abundance of this life. May we learn to share the love and bounty for there is no limit to true love because it is not given away. It is our being. Our higher self is our self in relationship.

  8. Natalie says:

    Thank you for helping me to stay inspired and motivated!

  9. Melanie J. says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! Between family stress and money stress, I have zero spirit so far. I look forward to digging into this and taking care of me.

    • Julie says:

      LOVE what you wrote, Melanie! I too, have “zero” spirit so far, but I’m working on it too. Happy holiday season from Australia!

  10. Gundula Guldner says:

    Thank you Kris,
    you inspire me every day. I love my plant-based food (I don’t call it Vegan as it freaks people out…..) and feel grateful and blessed, that I have found your wonderful, colourful site.
    May I just point something out. Eating plant-based food only and caring for yourself has become a lifestyle to me and I do hope to everybody who sees the total health benefits of it. Staying balanced and alkaline is a “life mission” and getting hung over just doesn’t fit with me anymore. I don’t even have “only one” as I just know how awful I feel after. No judgement on people who do, I just feel if you do what we do, we just don’t get hung over anymore….! Happy Holiday Season, Kris and keep us inspired, you are doing a great job. Thank you
    Gundula (New Zealand)

  11. Kari says:

    I love how spiritual yet methodical your Guide is! We need both in order to feel uplifted… and stick with it! You’re the best. xo

  12. Emma says:

    LOVE it 😀 !!!

  13. isabelle de Laforte says:

    thanks a lot Kris, for such wonderful tips for a cool holiday! that’s terrific! I always enjoy reading you!! and thanks also for mentioning the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz… I googled it and really , this “don’t take anything personally” appealed to me so much!!! I’ll have my juicer for Xmas , and thanks to you, I’ll drink green juices while reading the four Agrreements!! XO isabelle from France

  14. Cheryl says:

    Love this chart, Kris! Your holiday guide puts self-care front and center, which is where it belongs, especially for anyone on a healing journey. Great resource. Thank you for this gift!

  15. Kathryn says:

    What a lovely and gentle reminder at this crazy time of the year to be KIND to ourselves. <3

    I wrote this piece a few years ago on dealing with the crazy relatives. It's meant to be funny and most feedback indicates people get a chuckle out of it. If it helps someone, feel free to share.

  16. Rebecca says:

    Mindfulness or any form of meditation (walking meditation, sitting meditation, yoga) has always been really helpful for me during the holidays…well, any day! I’m better able to respond instead of *react* to the business of the season. Also a large heaping helping of compassion for myself is huge. Thanks for the great tips!

  17. Nancy says:

    Hi Kris,

    My self care at this time of year is stay positive by reading positive messages from people such as yourself and by doing little things that are soothing. I like sipping a nice hot cup of chai tea while sitting under a warm afghan and thinking about all the people/things I’m grateful for. I also love pampering my skin with healthy protective products like Anne Marie Gianni’s coconut honey mask.

  18. Caryn says:

    I love this list, starting with hydration. I do feel if we are hydrated, the bloating (body) and fuzzy thoughts (mind) always feel better. When I’m stressed and need to take care of myself, I try and take a short walk. If I can’t, I try and stand while I’m working. My body feels better for it.

  19. Kristine Kramer says:

    I feel like you channelled me this morning. My plan is your plan! Thank you!

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