Holidays are usually a time to express love for one another by exchanging gifts and filling up on delicious food and drinks. However, the stress of travel, being away from home and spending time with a family member can also make the holidays more stressful than doom-scrolling through your news feed. Here are some tech tools to help you keep your sanity on vacation.
1. Meditation and Mindfulness Apps
Meditation has proven to be one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety—exactly what you need when your family starts talking politics. There are many meditation and mindfulness apps to help you deal with stress and anxiety that drive you through a variety of activities.
Choices range from simple exercises like following your breath and metta (seeking well-being to others) to more interesting and potentially liberating dualistic practices that center on the idea that you are non-existent and that awareness is everything and nothing at the same time. .
The benefits of meditation are said to be cumulative. While a quick retreat to the closet or basement might do you some good over the holidays, you might want to start practicing now for next year’s reunion. Your future will thank you.
2. Ring lights
If you don’t have the great fortune of visiting friends or family in person this holiday season—for example, you’re studying abroad—don’t have the cash to fly home or prefer to limit your physical exposure to real humans. , then you might be doing some virtual visits over the holidays.
If this is the case, you want to look your best, which means don’t just throw on your favorite ugly sweater but pair your webcam with a ring light to highlight your features. Ring lights are the same piece of kit used by your favorite (or most disliked) influencers. Photographers also use ring lights when taking portraits to soften the faces of their subjects.
There are several ring lights on the market that range in size from 6 to 12 inches, can be used with mobile devices or laptops, and come with adjustable color temperatures between 3,000K (warm lighting) and 6,500K (natural lighting). These features will make you look your best.
3. Smart Meat Thermometer
Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a big slab of meat to feast on. In most families, Christmas isn’t Christmas if that slab isn’t overcooked. To be the hero that helps your family avoid this disaster, consider choosing a digital meat thermometer. The latest smart meat thermometers have tons of features to ease the stress of under or overcooking food. Smart meat thermometers also make great gifts!
And these devices live up to their name: they’re very smart. Features include the ability to measure both the internal and external temperature of food, guidance on how long to cook different types of meat, alerts to ensure you don’t overcook anything, and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity. All that means you can watch a football game with your favorite cousins in the garage without worrying about checking the oven.
4. Noise-canceling headphones
The best way to keep your sanity during the holidays is to completely block out every sound your family makes. If this is the case, consider choosing the best sound-canceling headphones.
Having a pair of these in your bag will give you some peace of mind wherever you are. You can use noise-cancelling headphones to listen to a guided meditation on Spotify without interruption, distract yourself with a podcast that inspires you, or listen to one of the most relaxing songs according to science.
Digital books offer convenience and choice, wherever you are, at the touch of a button. So if you plan to travel and expect to find yourself at the airport or bus station, or expect to have some downtime until the festivities begin, consider picking up one of the best eReaders available. These devices make excellent travel companions.
Different e-readers offer different benefits, but some factors to look for are size, battery life, waterproof capability, and whether or not the e-reader contains advertisements. Another important feature Kobo Libra allows for—the ability to connect to your local library’s digital collection. It allows you to check out books and even audiobooks without paying a single penny.
6. Digital wallet
For better or worse, the holidays are synonymous with gift-giving for many people. If you have too many people to make purchases with, your credit card can catch fire through friction. Instead, use a digital wallet to have an easier time tapping tips your way on vacation.
If privacy concerns prevent you from setting up a digital wallet, rest assured that your private account information is stored securely by setting up your smartphone with one of the best digital wallet apps. Popular options include Apple Pay for iPhone users, Google Pay for Android users, and Samsung Pay for those with Samsung smartphones. Facebook and Amazon also have digital wallets for buying things online.
7. Smart speakers
A smart speaker is probably the best technology to use Google Assistant to save your sanity on vacation and make vacations less stressful. These speakers can do a lot of things, from telling you when the mall is less busy to setting reminders about when to pick up the turkey. They can also entertain by telling the kids a story or giving you an update on the weather if you’re wondering if Uncle Close Talker will come to Christmas dinner (he always sits next to you, doesn’t he?).
One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is to play some of those time-tested Christmas jams. Fortunately, you can ask your smart speaker powered by Google (or Alexa) to “play holiday music” and it will choose a random playlist from your favorite music app. If you already have a curated holiday playlist ready, make your request more specific, “Ok Google, play my Christmas playlist at maximum volume on Spotify.”
Stay calm and positive this Christmas
Christmas is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s even better with the right accessories. So before you pack your bags and head off to visit your family and friends, consider adding one of these tech pieces to your pack so you can share a little more excitement and get out of the holidays with your sanity intact.