woman resting during holidaysYou’re in non-stop holiday mode, decking the halls, cleaning the house to prepare for guests, and shopping online, in search of the perfect gift. The lack of sleep, increased screen time, and never ending to-do list can start to weigh heavy on your mind and body, unless you give both a break.

Here are four ways to rest your eyes and mind, in order to bring greater joy to your holiday season.

Go Outside

Exposure to nature can boost your mental health and learning capacity — immediately and over time, according to Psychology Today. Research has shown that being outside can help to lower your stress levels and restore your attention span.

Greenery draws the eye’s attention, while simultaneously calming the nervous system. This leads to “calm alertness,” an ideal state for learning. It also helps to counterbalance screen time, which creates a stress-based alertness, depletes attention, and puts strain on your eyes.

Sleep at Least 7 Hours a Night

There’s no replacement for a good night’s rest — and many of us aren’t getting it. In fact, one in three U.S. adults aren’t sleeping the recommended 7 or more hours a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sleeping less than 7 hours a day, the CDC says, can lead to chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and mental distress.

How can we catch more zzz’s?

Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference, including:

  • Consistently going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning
  • Turning off or removing your television, computer or mobile device from the bedroom

The blue light emitted from electronic devices has the potential to lead to macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss throughout the U.S., according to new research from the University of Toledo.

This makes it all the more important to unplug from technology at night, not only to rest your eyes, but to protect them.

Use a Warm Compress & Breathe Deeply

You’ve spent the past several days on your feet, preparing for guests to arrive. Take 15 to 20 minutes, find a dark room, and place a warm compress on your eyes, while breathing deeply.

What’s a warm compress? It can be as simple as a warm, wet washcloth.

This is a great home remedy for stress relief, and it also can help with a number of eye issues, including:

  • Dry eye
  • Pinkeye
  • Stye
  • Swollen eyelid
  • Muscle spasms

Consult an ophthalmologist for an exam and treatment, should the problem persist or worsen.

Live in the Moment

Our phones may keep us connected to those who live far away, but they also take us away from the people sitting right next to us. Try silencing or turning off your phone when company is present, which allows you to fully engage with your children or grandchildren.

To practice being more present, use your senses. Look at the expressions on your family’s faces as they open presents, particularly the children. Breathe in the smell of pine needles from the candle on your entryway table. Squeeze your family a little tighter when they arrive and leave to go back home.

By tuning into your senses, you’ll feel more present, calm and joyous — this holiday season and year-round.