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How Standards Help Relieve Stress This Holiday Season


Tis the season for stress! Whether it's fighting the crowds at the mall, facing gatherings with not-so-friendly relatives, or managing busy schedules with too many get-togethers, some elements of the holiday season can bring undue amounts of stress into our lives. An article on has 25 suggestions to fight holiday stress, and with the help of standards, you can choose a few that will help you stay calm, slow down, and enjoy the season.

Along with Hanukkah, Christmas, and other wintertime holidays, the end of the year brings shorter days and less sunlight. It's important to seek out the sun during these abbreviated daylight hours, as sunlight stimulates production of serotonin and can help relieve stress and sadness caused by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). What's more, taking a brisk walk can decrease anxiety and improve sleep. Spend time outdoors but be sure to keep your feet warm too, check out International Standard ISO 20877:2011, Footwear - Test methods for whole shoe - Thermal insulation. This standard specifies a method for measuring insulation of footwear against heat or cold, in order to provide information for assessing footwear comfort. It was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 216, Footwear. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to this TC is ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

Of course, heading outdoors for a brisk walk in the sun may not always be possible, whether due to physical limitations, work schedule, unpleasant weather, or other barriers. Your doctor may recommend that you pursue the benefits of sunlight through artificial means - specifically phototherapy, a medical treatment that involves exposure to full-spectrum light. IEC 60601-2-57 Ed. 1.0 b:2011, Medical electrical equipment - Part 2-57: Particular requirements for the basic safety and essential performance of non-laser light source equipment intended for therapeutic, diagnostic, monitoring and cosmetic/aesthetic use, offers basic safety and performance guidelines for devices used in phototherapy, which incorporate optical radiation to create non-visual photo-biological effects. These guidelines were developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) TC 76, Optical radiation safety and laser equipment. The U.S. holds the secretariat of this committee, and the United States National Committee (USNC) has delegated secretariat duties to William Ertle, president of Rockwell Laser Industries, Inc. Thomas Lieb of L.A.I International serves as chairman. The USNC-approved Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for TC 76 is the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

One surprising stress-reliever that may calm your holiday anxiety is the smell of citrus. Shown to boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress, citrus fragrances are an easy way to bring peace with a simple breath. Fresh lemons or oranges are the easiest way to accomplish this, but for a longer lasting scent, consider using essential oils. ISO has several standards for essential oils in general (they include ISO 18321:2015, Essential oils - Determination of peroxide value; ISO 709:2001, Essential oils - Determination of ester value; and ISO 11024-1:1998, Essential oils -- General guidance on chromatographic profiles -- Part 1: Preparation of chromatographic profiles for presentation in standards), as well as standards specific to the citrus family (ISO 3517:2012, Essential oil of neroli [Citrus aurantium L., syn. Citrus amara Link, syn. Citrus bigaradia Loisel, syn. Citrus vulgaris Risso]; and ISO 3528:2012, Essential oil of mandarin, Italian type [Citrus reticulata Blanco]). All were developed by ISO TC 54, Essential oils.

Want more relaxation tips? Check out another article published by The American Heart Association to see many more, from taking a break to pet the dog to numerous "stress-busting" activities. With the right tools to help you relieve stress (and the right standards to support these tools!), you can relax and focus on family, traditions, and the true spirit of the holiday season.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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