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The Green Life: 4 Unique Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress

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December 17, 2012

4 Unique Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress

Zen GardenIt's safe to say that the holiday season can cause a tad bit of stress. Okay. A lot of stress. But here are four unique ways to manage your blood pressure levels so you can remember why you love the holidays so much.

1.) Create Your Own Zen Garden

Gardening is known to be a great stress reliever because it connects you to nature. But if regular gardening has never been your thing, try creating a Zen garden. Also known as a Japanese rock garden, Zen gardens are typically made from sand, rocks, plants, and water elements that represent nature and can be combined to form a calm and soothing composition. The location, size, and arrangement of the garden are up to you; the creative process is part of what makes it a relaxing activity.

The video below will show you how to make a Zen garden on a budget.

Essential Oils2.) Make Your Own Essential Oils

Essential oils have been around for a long time, and with good reason. A soothing scent like lavender or jasmine can help you unwind and make you feel pampered.

Use them in the bath or add them to a homemade eye pillow (see below). You can also use essential oils to make eco-friendly cleaning products and air fresheners.

Watch the video below to learn how to make your own essential oils.


Scented Rice Pillow 

3.) Create Your Own Scented Rice Pillow

Crafting can be a relaxing endeavor, especially when the final product helps you take a better nap. Use your homemade essential oils and create a one-of-a-kind eye mask or travel pillow. These rice pillows are great for sore muscles since they can be heated in the microwave. To make, simply...

1. Pick a fabric.

2. Design your shape and cut your fabric accordingly.

3. Use any type of rice to fill your pillow.

4. Choose a scent or ingredient that is soothing to you, such as lavender sprigs, ground cinnamon bark, or essential oil to mix with the rice.

5. Sew and enjoy!

Watch the video below for more detailed instructions.

Eco-Friendly Day Spa4.) Visit an Eco-friendly Spa

Ah, what better way to escape from it all than to physically remove yourself from the environment that's causing you stress? If you've veered away from commercial day spas, worry no more. Book an appointment at an eco-friendly spa that differentiates itself from the rest by using skin care products made from organic ingredients; recycling; using green cleaning products; and utilizing low-flow shower heads as well as energy efficient light bulbs. Check out where you can find a local eco-friendly spa near you.

And if winter weather is keeping you inside, create your own spa at home.

 --Christine Nguyen is an editorial intern for Sierra magazine. She loves The Beatles, dogs, eating desserts, and traveling from Northern to Southern California to visit friends and family. She is currently an after school 2nd grade teacher in Fremont, California.

--images by (from top) istock/og-vision, istock/chrisgramly, istock/miss_j, istock/Yuri_Arcurs

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