I read an article once on how to lower stress and survive the holidays with 10 tips from acupuncturists from around the world. Sara Calabro, the writer of the article and fellow acupuncturist, did a great job of not only listing the 10 tips but describing the philosophy of Chinese Medicine that goes behind those tips. Very educational, and the tips were things you can do for free!
To this list, I would add an 11th tip: take a bath every night. Do you remember as a child taking your bath every night? Playing with your rubber ducky or with bubbles in your bubble bath? How fun and relaxing it was? For some reason, Americans in general stop taking baths after childhood. (My guess is that we tend to live in fast-forward, and baths take a little more time!) In Japan, taking a bath is a nightly ritual for people of all ages.
I grew up taking baths in Japan, especially during the winter. Boy, do I recall the relaxing and soothing sensation of sitting in the bathtub. It is very warming, deep into the core of the body, and the heat is a wonderful way to kick start your metabolism! It's also very detoxifying because the hot water induces sweating. Ladies, your skin will be glowing after a bath!
For people who suffer from cold hands and feet, or always feel cold, a warm bath every night is an excellent prescription. Women with menstrual irregularities, cramping, and PMS will also benefit from taking nightly baths. The warming effects help unblock stagnation in the body and warm the "cold in the uterus", which afflicts many women. You will also go to bed thoroughly relaxed and cozy, which encourages a very nice and deep sleep.
If you sweat a lot during the bath, make sure to drink plenty of water, and take breaks if you feel yourself getting a little too hot - that is, depending on how hot you make the water. I like mine quite hot, but a warm bath will do just fine, too.
If taking a bath is not your thing, or due to water shortages here in California you don't want to take a bath, consider doing foot baths for you and your kiddos. Add some epsom salt or essential oils like lavender. Getting your feet toasty warm will help to warm up the rest of your body. Many of us know the sensation of feeling cold when just our feet are cold, regardless if our body is warm.
Now just visualize sitting in a nice tub of warm water, soaking your achy body and tired mind, and feel all the stress just melt away...ahhhh...