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Massage this pressure point by using your fingers in a circular motion. This is a great trick to ease your jaw, which we often clench. (Image: Kelli Lesnak)
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5 ways to quickly relieve stress this holiday season

Sure, it may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be one of the most stressful, too. With holiday shopping, attending multiple parties, baking goodies or hosting family and friends, it may feel like you haven’t had a minute to yourself these past few weeks.

You’re likely holding a lot of tension in your body as a result of that non-stop holiday hustling and bustling, which is not a positive way to start out the new year.

Saya Barkdol, the owner of Ohana Wellness in Bethesda, Maryland, has a few tips and tricks to help you quickly relax (in say, 10-15 minutes!) and recharge as this holiday season comes to a head.

Aromatherapy

Barkdol recommends using lavender oil or peppermint oil in moments where you need to relax.

"Say you're in the parking lot and can’t find a parking space and someone steals yours, and you have to park a mile away, I carry oils, and take a couple drops in my hands and cup them around my face and breathe in," Barkdol says. "I like to do that with peppermint especially, because it can open up your nasal passage and give you that jolt of energy." Barkdol notes that you should get 100 percent natural oils, with nothing added.

Heat

Heat up a rice pillow in the microwave or take a hot water bottle or heating pad and place that around your shoulders, Barkdol suggests. For some extra relaxation and muscle loving, put some peppermint oil on your neck and then place the heating pad around your neck.

"That’s a real quick way to decompress and relax your muscles, your shoulders and give you a minute of super relaxation," she said.

“Hoku” Pressure Point

The "hoku" pressure point is located in the tissue that connects your thumb and pointer finger. Barkdol says to take the thumb and pointer finger on your other hand and squeeze your hoku pressure point pretty hard. The trick?

"Imagine yourself breathing into that spot," says Barkdol. "Take three deep breaths and then take a second break, and do it again and then you should be good to go."

Jaw Pressure Point

We hold a lot of tension in our jaws and many of us clench our jaws when we're stressed out. Relieve some of that pressure by massaging the pressure point in our jaws. To find that sweet spot, put your fingers on your cheeks and trace along your jaw until you find the part of your jaw that lifts or pops out slightly when you open and close your mouth. Then, simply use pressure to massage that spot in circles to relieve that tension.

Mantra

Pick a "mantra" for yourself and remind yourself of it during times when you are stressed. This is something personal to you, that will remind you to stay calm or focused. Say it over to yourself, write it down, make it a note in your phone -- whatever works. Choosing a mantra and setting that as an intention during your day can really serve as a type of preventative self care, before the stress creeps up on you.

"Find some sort of short and sweet phrase, something you can come back to during the day, so if the day starts going in a direction that's more on the stressful side, you can bring yourself back using that intention or mantra," Barkdol says. Here's an example: In every moment, joy is a choice.

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