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How Singing Christmas Music Can Help Relieve Holiday Stress

Well, deck our halls then!

Welcome to HuffPost Canada’s (almost) daily guide to helping you pick up an easy, everyday ritual that can make your life a bit better, in a small but significant way.

Canadians are stressed out, anxious, and are feeling disconnected from each other. Every Monday through Friday, we’ll share a tiny tip to help you feel good. We’ve got your back.

Today’s habit: Gather some friends and family and sing some Christmas music!

For whenever you’re feeling: Like you want an extra dose of holiday spirit.

What it is: Many of us have probably been listening to holiday music since Nov. 1. But how many of us actually go outside and sing Christmas carols? Probably not many.

When I was a kid, my dad and stepmom would take me and my sister carolling at the local park, and it was so magical. Obviously, I’m not a kid anymore and the thought of singing in public makes me want to run for the hills, but I also like the idea of belting out a Christmas tune without caring what other people think.

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How it can help: With all the added stress the holidays put on us, often we just want to relax as much as we can. Good news: singing can help with that.

According to research, singing can help reduce stress by releasing pleasure endorphins and oxytocin, a hormone in the body that has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress.

If you end up joining an impromptu group of carollers or a choir (maybe on Christmas eve), you’ll get the added social benefits, too. Research shows that not only do choir singers notice their mood improving when they sing, they also report feeling happier and less stressed.

Something else that makes us less stressed: being physically active.

“As it’s an aerobic activity, singing improves heart health with related benefits to overall health and is linked to longevity, stress reduction, and general health maintenance,” Barbara Dinsdale, a representative of Heart Research UK, told BBC News.

“Singing also brings a great amount of happiness. It is impossible to sing well with a long face because it affects your pitch. Keeping the positive momentum up is essential. If we smile as we sing then people soon feel the benefit in more ways than one,” Dinsdale added.

How to get started: You don’t have to form a jingle-bell rock group to reap the benefits of singing, but it can’t hurt. If you’re looking for a place where you can sing carols with others, check out your local community centre, library, or recreation centre. Or, join your neighbourhood’s Facebook group and ask members if they’d be up for a bit of carolling.

An easy way to see live Christmas music — and sing along to it — is at your local church, which will definitely have holiday hymns and carols galore on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

Find a holiday radio station or Spotify playlist and turn up it way up, Or, hit up your local karaoke spot and belt out the festive hits.

Where you can do it: Basically anywhere you feel comfortable singing Christmas songs. And why not carry your tune into the new year and make it a regular habit?

How it makes us feel: FESTIVE.

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And that’s your habit of the day.

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