15 items you should honestly gift yourself to help ease holiday stress | CNN Underscored

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Blame it on the entirety of this past year or just simply the holidays, but there’s a good chance you may be feeling more stressed out than usual right now.

A lot of us are already too busy, says wellness expert Dr. Ann Kulze. “Then, you add to that the added responsibilities and obligations, more social engagements, entertaining people, family coming in,” she says. “That means oh, I’ve got to clean up the yard and the house. And I have additional cooking. And if it’s Christmas, I’ve got to think about what I’m going to get for people, what presents I’m going to get.”

Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate this stress, and we spoke with wellness and organization experts about ways to keep it all together even when you’d like to run away from it all.

$16 at Amazon

“I’m a big advocate of planners and use them to schedule both work and personal activities,” says Carolyn Kraut, founder and owner of Hands of Time Concierge. “There are also families that still hang wall calendars in their kitchens to track family activities, keeping them separate from their work calendars/planners.” While it might be too late to start a family planning calendar this year, gear up for 2023 with this pretty floral version (there are three other designs as well) that has a large grid, stickers and a magnetic hanger.

$130 at Zappos

On Cloud 2.0
“Exercise is a very effective way to deal with stress. Moving your body helps to release endorphins, which can balance your mood. The exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. Something as simple as a walk can go a long way to help clear your mind,” says wellness entrepreneur Shahada Karim, founder of Habibi Body and Habibi Sport. Take a walk around the neighborhood and feel like you’re walking on air in these super-cushioned kicks that will keep your feet comfy and your body stress-free.

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$100 $70 at Amazon

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$88 at Lululemon

Lululemon The Reversible Mat
“Yoga is a rock star for stress resiliency, stress reduction, for reasons that are obvious and maybe some that we’re still trying to tease out,” explains Kulze. “It’s got the breathing, it’s got the stretching, it’s got the holding of these actual movements, which has this wonderful kind of tranquilizing effect on the body. And then beyond that, it’s the aerobic activity, particularly moderate to vigorous.” Do gentle stretches, a full workout or just give in to savasana with our favorite yoga mat of 2022.

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From $98 at Lululemon

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant
Lightweight yet opaque, the Align’s buttery-soft feel and stretchiness are like no other legging. Check out our picks for the best leggings here.

From $24 at Amazon

CRZ Yoga Women’s Naked Feeling Workout Leggings

For a more affordable option, these Lululemon lookalikes are as much a pleasure to wear during workouts as they are for lounging around the house.

$46 at Amazon

Nekteck Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager

If all that stress is building up in your upper back, neck and shoulders (as it often does), this heated back massager is easy to use and simply glorious at getting out those tight knots.

From $269 at Bearaby

Bearaby Velvet Napper

Sometimes all you really need is a hug, and weighted blankets like our favorite ones at Bearaby provide that calming pressure while you lie on the couch or drift off to sleep.

$70 $66 at Amazon

Cosori Pour-Over Kettle

“I call them kind of superstar foods for stress protection,” Kulze says of stress-relieving teas. “Sipping on freshly brewed tea from camellia sinensis leaf. That’s green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea.” You’ll need something to brew all the tea you’re going to be drinking, and this highly rated, well-priced kettle has the good looks and power to deliver hot water fast.

$36 at Food52

Frieling Stainless Steel Herb & Tea Infuser Ball, Set of 2

Love loose-leaf tea? This infuser set lets you steep your tea of choice (or herbs) in hot water or broth.

$25 at Amazon

Yogi Egyptian Licorice Tea, 96 Bags

“I’m a huge fan of licorice tea. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and help with problematic digestion (a common side effect of stress),” says Karim.

From $125 at Amazon

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug 2

To make sure your tea stays toasty while you sip, we can’t say enough good things about the Ember mug, which keeps your hot drinks hot for hours on end. It comes in a holiday-appropriate bright red color too.

From $30 at Amazon or Fellow

Fellow Carter Everywhere Travel Mug

Take your soothing drink to go in this cute travel mug, available in essentially every colorway. Just sip away as traffic and the world fly by.

$58 at Uncommon Goods

Sarah Burrows and Nick Behr Unwind Lavender Gift Set

“Lavender-scented products have been recommended for relaxation and stress relief for as long as I can remember,” says Kraut. This set will help you with a relaxing routine that helps soothe you into peaceful slumber with the power of aromatherapy.

$39.97 at Amazon

Keomi Naturals Lavender Organic Handmade Bath and Body Set

“So often during the holiday times, frankly, people are entertaining more and going to more parties, and their sleep is disturbed,” says Kulze. “And that will exponentially decrease your stress resiliency and increase your propensity to feel stress when you shouldn’t, if you’re sleep-deprived.” Another lavender option to de-stress, this gift set is perfect to bring home for yourself or gift to a stressed friend or family member. Luxury soap, oil and natural hand cream — all made in the US.

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