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Relax, Renew & Rejuvenate: Post-Holiday Stress Relief Tips Guaranteed to Jump-Start Your New Year

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Saturday Jan 28, 2012

This article is from the May 2012 issue of EDGE Digital Magazine.

The gifts have been opened, the eggnog drunk, and the gorgeous blue spruce for which you paid through the nose sits in a sodden, tinselly heap on the corner, awaiting trash pick-up.

Your credit cards are as bloated as your waistline, and the endless gray days of winter have your Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) on overdrive. What's a girl (or guy) to do?

With a few quick fixes, you can survive the season and emerge like a fuzzy new chick come spring!

First of all, make good on that New Year's resolution and head out for a brisk walk or run. Exercise raises your self-esteem, improves your mood, and fights off depression. Working out also boosts your endorphins, which trigger a feeling of euphoria that can help keep SAD at bay.

If your dogs are barking from all that running, try a revitalizing soak with Upper Canada Soap All About Feet revitalizing foot salt soak and soothing foot cream, available at Bath & Body Works. The blend of sea salt, Dead Sea salt, and Epsom salt will do the trick.

Even better, follow up that workout with a soothing bubble bath. The old tagline, "Calgon, take me away!" is not just a toss-away. Soaking in a hot tub will soothe your muscles, and give you a chance to meditate and relax.

Now it's time to parlay that generic Visa gift card you got from Aunt Betty into a restorative gift basket from - only this time, let the gift be for you.

Choose from their wide selection of products, like the Bathe in Luxury Spa Gift Basket, a charming collection of honey-inspired bath products, including Naturally Warm Honey Nectar hand and body wash, foaming bath milk, and lotion, a nutty, fragrant oatmeal soap, a loofa and scrubber brush, plus a bath pillow and soothing eye mask.

Or try their Candlelight Bubble Bath Spa Gift Basket, a collection featuring a large lavender bath candle, two Blossom Bath Burst dissolvable bath balls, a waffled scrubber and loofa, foaming bath powder, and lavender body lotion infused with citron. Lavender is well known for its relaxing qualities, so light the candle, plop a soothing bath orb into a steaming tub, and enjoy. Also safe for everyday use is the Philip B. Lavender Hair and Body Shampoo.

Ladies, often more sensitive to bath products, should use caution when choosing bubbles. Make your bath as blue as the azure with Athena's Kama Sutra Treasure of the Sea Luxury Bathing Kit. Light one of their Skinny Dip soy candles with hemp seed oil and scrub away the blues with the SPAcific Essentials massager/back brush with massage tips incorporated into the boar bristle head.

Catering to the LGBT community and respecting relationships of all kinds, Athena’s Home Novelties offers a wide range of sensual home novelty and spa products designed to bring relaxation and passion into your life. Athena offers tons of sex toys and bondage gear, but if you’re more PG oriented, try their Raspberry Almond Lotion, Heavenly Goddess edible soy candles, massage and body oil, and pheromone spray - all natural botanical products made with hemp oil extract.

Winter weather leaves your skin raw and chafed, elevating your risk of skin injuries or abrasions and lowering your resistance to colds. So be liberal with the lotion! Wash your face with Clark’s Botanicals Soothing Herbal Face Wash, a non-foaming formula featuring Vitamin E, lavender and aloe to calm skin and replenish moisture.

Or go the extra measure with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial and Ultra Facial Oil-Free kits. Their blend of desert aloe, naturally derived sugar, glacial proteins, and oil-free skin conditioners will help you cleanse, tone, and moisturize that sensitive winter skin. Start with the oil-free cleanser, featuring Imperata Cylindrica root and lemon fruit extracts. Remove excess residue with the non-stripping, oil-free toner, and finish up with the oil-free gel cream or lotion.

Kiehl’s, founded 160 years ago as an old-world apothecary in New York’s East Village, has a long history of pure botanical extracts. They also contribute liberally to many charities, including the largest AIDS research organization in the United States, amfAR.

Continue your whole-body skin care with a spritz of Heavenly Goddess Body Mist, a moisturizing body spray made with hemp seed oil. Then take the time while you’re toweling off to moisturize well with Heavenly Goddess Raspberry Almond body lotion, a nutrient-rich skin moisturizer, paying careful attention to your hands, face, and neck - those areas exposed to whipping winds. Or get ready for bed with Aromatherapy’s Sleep Night Time Tea Body Lotion, a soft and soothing blend of cedarwood and orange essential oils, available at Bath & Body Works.

Better yet, head to the bedroom, light a Heavenly Goddess Edible Very Cherry Soy Candle, and let your partner massage away the blues with Athena’s Heavenly Goddess Massage & Body Oil, an all-botanical product in Edible Vanilla or Skinny Dip. With a spritz of Passion Pillows pheromone pillow mist in Lavender Rain, it won’t be long before you’re ready for the best stress-buster of all: great sex.

From boosting your immune system and burning calories to lowering your blood pressure and overall stress levels, frequent sex will help keep you happy and healthy throughout even the darkest winter months. For as Plato once said, "He whom love touches walks not in darkness."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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