Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress

holiday stress

The holidays can definitely be stressful. But, wait, it’s a happy time, how can we have ‘holiday stress?’ Let’s see…running around trying to find just the right gifts while everyone else is doing the same; driving in increased traffic or flying and dealing with airport security; family drama. Or, maybe there doesn’t seem to be enough funds this year to make it the season you want. Even if things seem to be going perfectly, it can be stressful, just because things become busier and you’re around other people who are stressed.

One of the best ways to minimize Holiday Stress is to spend a little extra time on self-care. It’s that ‘fill the pitcher so you can fill the glasses’ idea. Relaxation exercises, meditation, yoga, getting out in nature, tea with a good book, deep breathing. It’s easy to get busy and think, “I don’t have time right now, I’m going to skip my yoga classes this week and next; I’ll get back into it after New Years.” Or the same for your daily meditation practice, or whatever you do to take care of yourself.

If you don’t have a regular practice of self-care, now is a very good time to start, rather than waiting for the New Year and thinking of it as a resolution. Head into two of the busiest weeks of the year from a place of calm and peace, rather than trying to recover later. ‘An ounce of prevention…’ 

Just Breathe

The easiest self-care technique to adopt, or just resume if you haven’t been paying attention, is SLOW, deep breathing. There’s a good reason for telling people who seem out of control or completely overwhelmed to ‘just breathe.’ If you slow your breathing down to about 5 cycles per minute (in and out breath combined) your parasympathetic nervous system…the ‘rest and digest’ system, can resume functioning (after the sympathetic system has had you in ‘fight or flight’ mode) and your brain wave pattern will shift. The result is an instantaneous relaxation feeling. This also allows for more oxygen to reach your brain and therefore you’ll be able to think more clearly.

Just a couple of minutes of slow, deep breathing can eradicate that Holiday Stress and leave you feeling calm, at peace and better able to handle whatever is on your plate. Meditation and mindfulness practices are also helpful, during the holidays and all days.

So, don’t skip your yoga or exercise class, your meditations or walks in nature. If anything, add one this week and next. And remember to breathe…slowly and with purpose. You’ll not only be much more prepared for the holidays, but won’t feel like you have to ‘recover’ once the new year arrives.

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