Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift, planning an amazing office party, or just coping with your significant other’s weird family holiday traditions, there’s a lot to stress out about this season. In fact, every winter, thousands of otherwise healthy Americans succumb to Holiday Freak-Out Syndrome (HFOS), a seasonal disorder whose symptoms include exhaustion, aching limbs, and the distinct possibility that you will have a nervous breakdown inside that store at the mall that only sells candles. But there is hope: HFOS is easily treatable. Our five-step wellness plan, utilizing RadioShack’s most effective relaxation technology, will have you back on your feet and ticking off items on your holiday to-do list in no time.
But remember, the time to treat HFOS is now — not in January, when you’ll also be busy “losing five pounds” and “finally learning French.” Your family and friends can’t enjoy the holidays unless you’re happy and healthy, too. Follow our guide below, start relaxing immediately, and save the holidays. Yes, just like that adorable animated reindeer everyone likes.
Step 1: Create your own peace and quiet.
Tell everyone that you’re going out to do more shopping; then, lock yourself in your bedroom with your MP3 player and Audiofly AF33 Noise-Isolating Earphones. These technological marvels are specially designed to block out ambient noise, so you can hear more of the sounds you want to hear, and less of the sounds that you don’t (like your next-door neighbor singing “Santa Baby” at the top of his lungs…again). We’d suggest listening to something tranquil, like a recording of a babbling brook, but if you'd rather go for, say, Pantera, feel free. I'm here to soothe, not to judge.
Step 2: Relax those neck muscles that have been tense since Thanksgiving.
Yup, those neck muscles — the ones that have been pulled as tight as piano wire ever since Uncle Jim had too many hot toddies and expressed some, uh, controversial theories about the final episode of Breaking Bad. Get out your Conair® NM8X Body Benefits™ Massaging Neck Rest with Heat, turn the adjustable vibration speed dial all the way up, and let the machine's gentle warmth ease your muscles. This portable, battery-powered massager can work on the go — but to receive the maximum benefits, stay right in that bedroom and let it relieve your tension while you visualize an infinite loop of romping puppies wearing tiny Santa hats.
Step 3: Finally do something about how much your feet ache.
Once your neck has loosened up, it’s time to move on to your next overworked, underappreciated support system: your feet. How long have you neglected and ignored these poor things as you stomped from store to store, looking for the one gift that will finally fool your parents into believing that you have your life together? It’s time to beg your feet for forgiveness. The CONAIR FB5X Foot Bath with Heat, Bubbles and 1 Attachment will help you make amends with your feet by soothing them in bubbling water, heated to the exact temperature of your choosing. You can even pick how bubbly you wanna get. A few minutes of this special treatment will make your barking dogs forget all about the torture you put them through this season; a few more, and they might even begin to forgive you for the Discount Flip-Flop Debacle of June 2011.
Step 4: Give your overworked brain something new to look at.
You've been doing a great job so far. But relaxation isn’t just about the body. Before you can truly escape from the dark shadow of HFOS, you need to calm your mind. Give it something to do besides frantically calculate how much money you’ve spent on tinsel and pre-mixed eggnog this month. Grab your least stress-inducing friend, drive to the edge of town (or climb out onto your fire escape), whip out some Bushnell17 5010 Perma Focus 10x50mm Binoculars, and look at the stars. It’s easy to forget that there is a world outside of competitive party planning and holiday lighting snafus, but there is. Don’t let HFOS make you miss it. And the Perma Focus feature means that these binoculars never need adjusting — they focus as soon as you pick them up, ready to let you inspect the wonders of the cosmos. What’s that constellation over there? Tonight, it's called whatever you want it to be called.
Step 5: Make sure that this never happens again.
If you’ve followed our instructions carefully, you’re feeling a lot better, and are about ready to return to your holiday tasks. But your work isn’t finished yet. You’ve got to take steps to prevent this from happening again! A new, top-of-the-line smartphone in your pocket, paired with a few Belkin® WeMo Switch/Wireless Home Actuators, will let you turn all of your Christmas lights on and off remotely, freeing you up to spend less time stressing and more time creating holiday memories with family (or playing Minecraft — whichever). And if you pick up a new smartphone from RadioShack this holiday season, you’ll also get a bonus $50 Visa online gift card, which you can use anywhere Visas are accepted. Standing up to HFOS is its own reward, of course. But $50 doesn’t hurt.
Gabrielle Moss has written mostly funny stuff (but also some serious stuff) for GQ.com, The Hairpin, Nerve, etc. You can follow her here.