1. Step away from the Starbucks.
From one caffeine-dependent woman to another, sometimes it is worth trading your cup of Joe for a cup of soothing, hot tea. And if you've been stressed, it's been suggested that caffeine can make you feel even more keyed up. I wouldn't suggest going cold turkey, especially if you're a several-cups-a-day drinker like myself. Try swapping your second or third cup for tea. I really love Tazo's Zen tea. You can find it at most grocery stores. It has a nice, smooth mint flavor.
2. Soak away the stress.
When is the last time you took a bubble bath? There is something so relaxing about a good, long soak. One of my favorite things is to run a bath (with Philosophy's Coconut Frosting bubble bath), grab a stack of magazines and indulge. The steam is also great for your skin and sinuses, both of which can be suffering this time of year.
3. Write it.
Have you ever kept a journal? Not the "dear diary" type you had when you were ten (you locked that puppy up with the little key it came with, didn't you?)--a grown-up journal. Somewhere you can write down your thoughts. Thoughts you might not be able to share out loud. Thoughts you may be struggling to express. Treat yourself--so many stores have pretty journals that are just as nice to look at as they are functional. Try Marshall's, HomeGoods, Barnes and Noble or Target. Bonus, if you keep a food journal, this might be a good way to kill two birds with one stone.
4. Phone home.
Or a friend, sister, brother, grandparent, etc. Hearing a familiar voice can be therapeutic. It's been said that the best mirror is an old friend. Talking to someone who knows and cares about you and/or asking for their advice could provide you just the perspective you need. So, skip the text or e-mail and pick up the phone. In a world of smartphones and instant messages, it's good to know these devices still serve an additional purpose...making a phone call.
5. Pray about it.
When I have something heavy on my heart or mind, leaning on my faith is one of the first things I do. Perhaps you're not a spiritual person and that's okay. I just want to share this with you because it is such an important part of my life. Don't know where to start? Pick up a Bible. You don't have to spend a lot. I've actually seen some beautiful Bibles in thrift stores! Find a passage or two (try Psalms, for example) and meditate on them. What speaks to you? Been a while since you've prayed? I don't think there is a right or wrong way. We can come to the Lord just the way we are. Without judgement, without fear. So, just talk to him like you would an old friend. He'll listen and you'll feel a weight lifted.
6. Make a list.
Sometimes when life feels overwhelming, one of the things that makes me feel the most calm is making lists. Have a lot to get done? Write a list and rank each item in order of priority/importance. It will feel good to see all your tasks in one place (rather than taking up space and energy in your brain) and you'll feel empowered each time you check one off your list.
7. Feel-good flicks.
Does your mind simply need a break? Find one of your favorites (especially if it's a movie you don't have to think too hard about) and just relax.