How bad is holiday stress? So bad that a new study by market research firm YouGov, which polled 2,760 Americans, found that 21 percent of women and 13 percent of men would give up sex for a stress-free Christmas.
Give up sex for a whole season? Bah humbug!
But, what if you could reduce stress this holiday and keep your sex life intact?
It’s easier than you think. All you need to do is . . . get naked.
This holiday season, you can either let stress get the best of you, and drown your emotions in eggnog and Hallmark movies, or you can add some much needed levity to the Yuletide with some festive and secular nudism.
As my grandmother always told me when I was growing up, “Stuff equals decisions, and decisions equal stress. Get rid of the stuff, and you’ll get rid of the stress.”
Grandmothers are never wrong. (Except for maybe that one time they told you biting your fingernails would make your stomach explode.) The more you eliminate from life, the more emotionally free you’ll feel.
Let’s begin with eliminating our pants.
Natasha Turner, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto and best-selling author of The Hormone Diet, agrees that being naked is a great way to eliminate stress. But your results will be far better if share your nudity with another naked person.
“Babies aren’t the only people who thrive from skin-to-skin contact,” she says. “We all benefit as it reduces cortisol”—sometimes known as the stress hormone—“and it boosts the hormone of connection oxytocin.”
And if you happen to be celebrating alone, you should still leave your clothes in the closet. “Being naked helps maintain the health competency of your skin barrier,” Dr. Turner explains.
Sorry, come again?
“Being naked helps skin circulation, toxin elimination, prevents skin fungal infections, and reduces risk of redness or irritation under tight-fitting clothing,” she says. “Anything that prevents skin inflammation or outbreaks will help maintain your skin barrier. And the healthier the skin barrier, the less stress you’ll have and the better you ability to handle stress.”
Here are five holiday activities that will only become more enjoyable if you slip out of your clothes and enjoy the moment au naturel.
If covering your tree with ornaments seems like a chore, you’re simply not doing it right.
Imagine you and that special someone decorating together, stretching and leaning over, covered in accidental glitter. You all know how that story ends, and it involves a tree skirt and possibly a few broken ornaments.
Somebody’s gotta make that angel atop the tree blush.
Caroling is overrated, and potentially dangerous. I once went caroling at age five and ended up getting bitten by a donkey at a live manger scene in a strip mall.
Instead of going door to door, forcing strangers to stand in their bathrobes and pretend to be enthralled, stay at home and carol naked. Add a glass of whiskey, and you’ll have more than visions of sugarplums dancing through your head.
I’m terrible at wrapping gifts. But honestly, who cares? They’re just ripping off the paper eventually anyway, right? Naked body, naked gifts. Simplify.
Cooking and Baking
This one is riveting because it can also be dangerous. My most recent major scar happened after attempting to bake naked on Thanksgiving.
Remember, you’re dealing with a hot oven, and nobody wants to start a pube fire.
But with a little caution, this activity can be delicious and spicy.
Vegging in Front of the TV
Nothing feels better than sprawling naked on a couch and watching a bunch of Christmas specials.
Remember the one where the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes? Well . . . okay, we’ll let you take this metaphor to its obvious dirty conclusion.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health