Your Health

Unplugged: Strategies for relaxing over the holiday break

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The break from school or work the holidays provide can and should be used to unplug, according to Passion Fit owner Reena Vokoun. Getting outside and spending time alone can benefit one’s stress levels.

According to a research study conducted by UC Santa Cruz, unplugging from technology and spending more time in nature can lead to a 50 percent increase in creativity and problem solving.

The holiday break may be the ideal time to truly unplug. Below are four ideas for how to do just that to close out the current year and ring in the new year feeling healthier, happier and more fulfilled.

• Get outside. Whether you’ll be in a cold or warm climate over the holidays, get outside each day, even if only for a few minutes. Breathing in fresh air, getting some vitamin D on sunny days and experiencing the peace and tranquility that come from being out in nature can do wonders for your well-being. Go for a walk, hike, run or bike ride or even simply sit outside and take in your surroundings. You’ll feel so much more balanced if you get outside each day.

• Write in a journal. It’s often hard to find the time to slow down, assess your thoughts and feelings and write it all down. However, the holiday break will hopefully allow you the time and space to engage in some journaling. It’s a great way to check in with yourself, reflect on the past year, set goals for the new year and release any stress, fear, contemplation or other thoughts or feelings you may be having. It’s also a great way to tap into your own creativity and write down any ideas you may be pondering.

• Read books on new and interesting topics. Reading is such a quiet, engaging and rewarding activity and a wonderful way to unplug. Why not find some books on new and interesting topics you haven’t read about before? The holiday break can be a great time to learn about new stories, skills, concepts, philosophies or people. Develop a vacation reading list and make time to sit back, relax and enjoy some good books.

• Engage in deep conversations with family and friends. In the fast-paced world we live in, we spend so much time racing from one activity to the next, being connected via our mobile devices and often being absorbed in our own busyness. Try to engage in deep and meaningful conversations with your family and friends to truly connect with them in an authentic way. It’s a great way to strengthen those bonds and relationships that mean the most to you. You’ll be creating holiday memories that last a lifetime and will start the new year with your most important relationships intact.

• Sleep more and take naps. Sleep deprivation can often occur around the holidays because there’s often so much to get done. While the holiday break will no doubt be filled with fun and exciting activities with family and friends, try to prioritize getting seven, eight or more hours of sleep each night. Don’t hesitate to take some naps on days when you feel you need even more sleep to feel and function at your best. The holiday break is the best time to rest, recover and enjoy the incredible gift of sleep.

Reena Vokoun is owner of the Los Altos-based Passion Fit. For more information, visit

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos