The Surprising Way To Keep Calm This Holiday Season

Even if the holidays look different this time around, many of us are still feeling the strain of an intense year — and coming upon one of the most notoriously stressful seasons. But when you're feeling overwhelmed and overworked, a simple trick can help down-regulate your system back to a place of calm. 

One of the reasons we can start feeling frazzled and stressed comes from various energy drains and demand that impact the brain. According to Psychology Today, the brain can start to show signs of distress after being subjected to the stressors of daily life, making you feel anxious. But the body has various mechanisms to help offset these moments, including simply closing your eyes. 

When you shut your eyes, it immediately signals to the body that you're safe. In fact, the outlet notes that several studies "show that closing your eyes boosts brain power, improves memory, and even ignites creativity." Since your brain is like any other part of your body, it has a limited amount of energy. So during the holidays, when there seems to be an endless supply of things to do, your brain is likely over-stimulated. With your eyes open, the body is constantly taking in your surroundings and staying on alert. By shutting them for a few moments and breathing deeply, you effectively can recharge, Psychology Today explains.

Why closing your eyes can calm you during the holidays

In addition to improving your memory, closing your eyes preserves energy and prevents your nerves from getting fried even further. According to Psychology Today, vision uses millions of neurons in the brain, which is nearly "30 percent of our brain matter." In other words, sight takes a ton of energy, and when shopping, cleaning, and cooking for the holidays, you'll need all of that you can get.

Furthermore, when you close your eyes, you're better able to recall information — likely due to this energy-saving effect, BBC News notes. Studies have found that those who closed their eyes while receiving information were better able to retain it when the time came to repeat it. In fact, young children often close their eyes when they're attempting to remember. It seems as if this response is almost automatic, until we unlearn it.

To release tension, massages, baths, and other self-care tools can be wonderfully helpful. But when you're in a pinch during the holidays (or any other time, really), the trick to letting go may be easier than you think. Close your eyes, conserve your energy, and come back to your center this holiday season.