Real stress relief may be close at hand…
With the end of the year approaching, many are feeling the stress of the holidays on their shoulders. It’s no wonder that we tend to be a little down during the winter months: between seasonal affective disorder due to the decreased sunlight and with at least 14 religious celebrations during December alone, the holidays can be a tough time for anyone. We can remind ourselves that Spring will come and the anxiety will end, but in the meantime it’s important to build up a self-care arsenal for relieving stress — and one tried and true method is always close at hand.
While hardly a chore in the first place, masturbation and sex may be the answer to the holiday hustle. Sexual pleasure, solo or partnered, is a proven method of boosting your mood and relieving stress. That overwhelmed feeling — whether caused by tight finances, holiday scheduling, or worrying about whether Aunt Sue is going to make a scene at Christmas dinner again — is caused by the presence of the hormone cortisol. Orgasms flood your body with oxytocin, which lowers cortisol levels — seems pretty simple, right? That’s because it is! Better yet, sex and masturbation also produce plenty of the “feel good” hormone dopamine, which is sure to lift your spirits as it’s literally the chemical expression of happiness. You’ll even sleep better.
If balancing your brain chemistry isn’t enough of a reason to get in touch with your sexuality this holiday season, consider this: masturbation can also raise your self esteem and boost your body image. You’re physically and figuratively loving your body! Your self esteem is linked to your overall wellbeing, which includes your ability to deal with stressors like being seated next to your racist uncle for the family get-together after enduring a seemingly unending stream of office parties. Partnered touch comes with its own benefits, including a bolstered immune system, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and increased trust — all important things for getting through the winter.
Stress is more than just an unpleasant feeling, it can be bad for your health. The Mayo Clinic warns that “stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” If you think your stress is causing you a problem, please see a doctor — but for the rest of us, perhaps a little extra pleasure is the best preventative cure for the holiday blues.
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Laderer, A. (2018, April 10). 5 Reasons Masturbation is Great for De-stressing. https://www.talkspace.com/blog/2018/04/5-reasons-masturbation-destressing/
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) How stress affects your body and behavior. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
Menges, S. (2017, September 21). The 3 Biggest Advantages of Human Touch May Surprise You. https://www.plushcare.com/blog/advantages-of-human-touch-hugs/
National Institute of Mental Health (n.d.) Seasonal Affective Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml
Scott, E. (2018, August 1). Why and How to Raise Your Self Esteem for Stress Relief. https://www.verywellmind.com/why-an-how-to-raise-your-self-esteem-for-stress-relief-3144820
Scribner, H. (2015, December 01). These are the 14 religious holidays believers celebrate in December. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865642813/These-are-the-14-religious-holidays-believers-celebrate-in-December.html
Ware, A. (2014, November 13). Is Sex Helping or Hurting Your Sleep? https://www.sleep.org/articles/does-sex-affect-sleep/