The time surrounding Thanksgiving, the holidays, and New Year's Eve can be stressful. It always seems to be a marathon of entertaining, traveling, eating, and drinking.

Even though my hubby and I are always so busy, I find it more important than ever to carve out some time for myself to help me relax.

On the TV shows I watch, all the wives will simply spend a day at the spa to "revive" themselves, but this is quite literally a luxury I cannot afford.

I have found a few ways to help me relax, often without spending a penny.

I make myself find time to do these activities because after I have done them and calmed down a little, I am able to face my day more positively and more productively.

1. I love to go for runs or walks either alone or with friends. Hitting the park for a quick lap can take only 20 minutes but by the time I jog back home, I have blown the cobwebs away and my mind has cleared. Walking with friends allows me some quality time with them while getting the benefits of the endorphins that exercising creates.

2. Local teams for sports, such as volleyball, dodge ball, and soccer, are often looking to recruit new players and it only costs a minimal fee to join. I see flyers at my supermarket all the time. It is a great way to meet people or to pick up a new hobby to relieve tension through physical activity.

3. If I need to calm down rather than let it out, I find a quiet room in the house and do a yoga DVD on my laptop. Being able to move away from the action in the kitchen and sitting room gives me the peace and quiet I sometimes need.

4. If I have half an hour to spare, I run myself a bubble bath and light some candles. Candles are often on sale, especially after holidays such as Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, so I stock up a couple of times a year while they are less expensive. I buy Epsom salts and little bottles of essential oils so that I am relaxing my body and my mind.

5. If I only have five minutes to sit and catch my breath, I try to make myself a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate and read a couple of pages of a magazine. It's amazing how switching your brain off for just a few minutes can help your mood.

6. If only a massage will ease my tired shoulders, I look around online for a nearby massage or aromatherapy school to see if there are any discounted rates. Often students in the final stages of their courses need volunteers to practice on and you only have to pay a minimal fee for a spa-like massage.

7. At the moment, even that is not in our budget, so my husband and I trade massages. Often if there is a show on television that I want to watch that I know he will not enjoy, I'll offer to give him a massage while I am watching it and later if there is a sports game that I do not want to watch, I'll get a massage in return. It also means that we get to watch the television shows we want to watch!

8. Sometimes I find that writing about my day helps me put everything in perspective. I feel better sharing my problems with a journal, knowing that I am letting out my feelings rather than bottling them up. I buy my journals during the back-to-school sales, but you can often buy them at a discount.

By adding these activities into my everyday life, I spend a little time on me to ensure that I can focus my energy on enjoying the holiday season with my husband and our family.

Related articles:

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Stress Management for the Holidays

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Vienna Nowell

Vienna currently resides in New York City, but is originally from London. She is a contributing writer under Married & Starting Out. She and her husband are recently married and they are contemplating taking the big step of buying their first home.  Still working their way through the processes of buying an apartment, she and her husband are learning as they go.  Vienna also writes a food blog, http://www.tinytestkitchen.com/, and is a freelance writer, chef and food stylist.  She is looking forward to sharing her experiences and any tips she picks up along the way during their house buying endeavor. Compensated CareOne Blogger

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