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8 Ways to De-Stress

Looking for ways to de-stress during the holidays when you have an upcoming semester of teaching?

Well, today’s post is on 8 ways to de-stress during the holidays, so you can rest up before the term begins. Even if you’re not in the teaching field, the holidays should be a time to relax.

Trust me, that’s one concept I have trouble with myself!love being busy (and so do most of you, right?). Most teachers I know are exactly the same way. Well, we need to make sure we don’t crash and burn as they say!

So, here are 8 of my favourite ways to de-stress. Some of them may surprise you!


8 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays


1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Wait. I started reading this post to learn how to relax, not give myself more work! I hear you thinking it.

Well, for me, planning is a way to make sure I’m organized, on top of everything and can really relax. Every Christmas or summer holiday season, I start off by putting a day into making semester lesson plans for students I tutor. It takes about 1 hour per student per 3-4 month semester, but it is worth every minute!


  • Make a customized schedule for each student
  • Consider their level and choose appropriate English books  (A post on my favourite ESL books is coming soon, too!)
  • Using the resources in the book and online tools, create a plan for each week of the semester.


I’ll be writing an e-book of lesson planning printables in the near future. For now, though, feel free to use my free lesson planning template, which is located in the November 2016 section of the free printables library. Be sure you have access, and I’ll keep you up to date as to when my ebook comes out 🙂


Free Printables Library


2.  Take A Bubble Bath


I know, it sounds childish, right? I’m totally as shower girl. Yesterday, though, I tried having a bath after a shower, and it felt like I was going into a hot tub!   Here is one sea salt accessory you can check out for the perfect holiday soakAmazon has a bunch more bath accessories, pillows and bubbles that could be fun and super relaxing!






3.  Coffee or Wine With Friends

What’s your poison? Well, mine is definitely coffee. And wine. Obviously, living in Europe, and Spain especially, has made me quite picky on both those accounts. Nespresso is my favourite machine (and I have had many!). Spending time with people who are close to you is the best part of the holidays.


Keep it simple. Host a party, but keep it simple. Don’t stress the small stuff. Choose decor you enjoy, cook food you can easily manage -and look forward to the quality time with others.



4.  Be Creative

Every summer, I make sure I take a break to be creative.  I know colouring books are all the rage now, but I actually prefer to paint. At least once a year, I head to Espai Medusaa studio here in Barcelona, to try my hand at acrylic painting.

Usually, I choose a photo that I’ve taken and make a drawing of it, and then paint it. Sometimes, I use a famous painting and make a copy.  It lets me focus on the colours and forget the world for a while.

If you prefer colouring books to bring out your artistic side, there’s a bunch of them on Amazon. Even better, check out this link for a colouring travel mug that you can customize by filling in the colourng sheet design.

If you’re in the UK/Europe, you can get yours here.



5. Buy Yourself Something Incredible

Nespresso Inissia

My Nespresso Machine – January 2016

Last year, two of my good friends bought me a Nespresso Inissia machine. Wow, do I LOVE it!  They have incredible quality coffee of various strengths, and three flavoured ones I love – caramel, chocolate and vanilla.

The way the flavour permeates the coffee, but doesn’t overtake it, is divine.

You can grab a Nespresso machine here from Amazon. In the UK/Europe, click here. 

Gift giving is a lot of fun, but surprising yourself can help you de-stress, too. This year I plan to splurge on the Aeroccino 4 – Nespresso’s new electronic frother that can froth hot or cold milk and is dishwasher safe. (I finally have a dishwasher that works!).

They’re out of stock here in Barcelona, but I’ll find one soon!


If you’re still looking for gift ideas for the holidays, don’t forget to check out my posts on 7 Awesome Gifts for Language Lovers and 15 Perfect Gifts for Teachers!



6. Meet New People

So, I love to meet new people. A friend I recently met suggested the group Internations, which helps people meet others from all around the world in over a hundred cities globally. In fact, I’m headed there for Christmas Eve this year to meet some new people.  Meeting new people allows you to gain new perspectives about different global issues and cultures.


How are you going to meet new people this holiday season?


7.  Cuddle A Puppy

Kiara - 7 year old Portrait Photo Shoot

Kiara- 7 Years Old, Portrait Photo Shoot

Did you know that spending time with pets relieves stress? In fact, at The University of Alberta where I did my undergraduate degree, they often bring therapy dogs into student lounges during exam time to relieve stress. There is an article about it here.


Well, I have my own Labrador/German shepherd cross at home. She’s hyper, energetic and the best part of my life. I absolutely love her and there’s nothing more peaceful than cuddling with her.

So, this holiday season, try cuddling a pet to de-stress!






8. VolunteerGirl Guides of Canada

Actually, I really miss volunteering. As a Girl Guides of Canada member for years, I volunteered as a leader with them from the time I was 15 to 21, and it was amazing to help the kids learn new skills for a couple hours a week.

I’ve also volunteered for the Edmonton Humane Society and walked dogs every week for four months (before I got my own). In fact, this one links up nicely with tip #7, so you can get two for one!



Recently, I wrote a lesson plan on volunteering for one of my tutoring students. We discovered a wide range of volunteering opportunities right here in Barcelona. So, one of my goals in the new year will be to get in some volunteer hours. Helping others really makes you realize what you have to give, at any time of the year.


Happy Holidays!




P.S.  For the photography buffs out there, I took the main image for this post in Madrid, at a Christmas market in 2015.

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