Ho-Ho-Hold the Stress

Ho-Ho-Hold the Stress

12 - Check it out.
Gate agents have a new accessory: a measuring tape. You'll be dinged for bags larger than standard and for checking more than two pieces (Delta smacks travelers with a $40- per-bag fee). Compress your clothes in American Tourister's Space-Saver bags. They vacuum-pack your duds, squeezing out all the air to make more room in your bag.

11 - Skip security snafus.
Take a gift-wrapped present through security, and you may end up watching some cranky guard tear it apart instead of Grandpa. If you can't pack it with your checked luggage (and unless you pack like a chick, you can), send it via the Virtual Bellhop (virtualbellhop.com).

10 - Try the, er, puppy.
It's a fact: Blood pressure drops when you pet a dog. And the ladies love 'em. So suck it up and buy a puppy. Doesn't have to be a lapdog; any old mutt will do.

09 - Be yourself.
You don't have to be any happier than you are, or funnier, or more dynamic, or quieter. You'll end up looking fake. And miserable.

08 - Try the Brigger Flip-Flop recliner chair.
It features a zero-gravity position that soothes aches and pains, an adjustable lower-back support, and pull-out leg rests (from $839; kleindesign.com).

07 - Set your intentions.
Think about what you want to have happen and what you want to experience.

06 - Take it with you.
Layovers suck—except when Moe, Larry, and those wrestler chicks from Old School keep you company. For $12 a day, rent a portable DVD player with a rechargeable battery from one of InMotion Pictures' 20 airport kiosks. (Find a list of airports at inmotionpictures.com.) One DVD per day is included; extra movies are $4 apiece. Your airport not on the list? They'll send you the player and the movies, but the shipping's on you.

05 - Keep away from toxic people.
Co-workers who love to talk about what's not right—all the problems, their complaints, and what isn't working—are toxic to you. They create more stress and can quickly suck you right into their game and take all the calm from you.

04 - Stay focused.
Start thinking more about what's right with your co-workers, your boss, your job, your company.

03 - Buy her the Mizuno "Stress-Reducing" swimwear.
OK, it's a stretch, but the Japanese sportswear firm announced that it had developed a line of women's swimwear that releases stress-reducing negative ions through natural mineral ores weaved into the fibers. And if she's not stressed, then you're not stressed ($85–$100; mizuno.com).

02 - When mealtime rolls around, think small.
Use small plates, small portions, and small talk. "You'll naturally fill your plate, no matter the size," says Dr. John La Puma. Then sit down to eat. If you graze, you'll just keep popping in cheese cubes. Sitting down forces you to actually talk to people, and you can't talk and eat at once.

01 - Get a massage.*
There is nothing more relaxing than a set of well-oiled fingers working their magic. Anyone who says otherwise is just stressing us out. Treat yourself to a full-body blast, or better yet, as the holidays are all about giving and receiving, take turns trying this on the ladies. Then unwrap a smile.

What it is: This is the mother of Western massage—most U.S. practitioners are trained in its techniques of soft-tissue manipulations. You'll be kneaded, tapped, and stroked, and your joints will be taken through active and passive movements.

What it does for you: It's a gentle form of massage, aiming for relaxation and improved circulation. Yeah, circulation.


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