The hectic holiday season is in full swing--anyone having any holiday stress yet? Whatever the source of your stress these days, there are some simple stress relievers that you can integrate into everyday life to help alleviate some of the upheaval. First recognize that stress impacts all parts of your being--mind, body and spirit. When we see all parts of ourselves working together, we can intervene at any of these points to have a positive affect on the whole self. Examples of stress relievers in each of these categories follow.
- Stop trying to be perfect and accept yourself. This is a daily process and one that requires reminders. I keep this quote from Jill Churchill somewhere around my computer, "The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."
- Instead of automatically responding when someone asks something of you say, "Let me think about it," instead. When we over-commit to activities, we tend to become more stressed.
- Go on a mental vacation. You can do this anywhere you want, with your eyes opened or closed. Think of a pleasant place and experience, one that brought you peace and happiness. Let yourself "be" in that place as much as possible. What did it look like, feel like, smell like? These mini vacations can break the cycle of dwelling on worries.
- If you don't already have deep breathing in your arsenal of stress busters, I highly recommend that you try it out. Do this anytime you feel stressed and use it as a preventative measure by doing it periodically throughout the day. Take a deep slow breath in through your nose, try to use your diaphragm to inhale the air deeply into your lungs, hold it for a second, and then slowly breathe out. If it helps, think, "I'm breathing in peace and breathing out worry." Insert anything positive for the word peace and any negative for the word worry that is relevant to your situation. Repeat the deep breathing for a few times during each "session" if possible.
- Try some basic stretches through the day. Look into taking a yoga class to learn some simple poses to help.
- If you do not already have some sort of daily meditation, try one out. Meditation does not have to be sitting cross legged on the floor and chanting. Decide what works best for you and roll with it. Prayer, mantras, guided imagery, and even singing are examples.
- Embrace nature and our connection to the world around us. Somehow studying the details of a snowflake on the windowsill or looking at how beautiful the orange of the butternut squash you are preparing for dinner is can bring you out of a dismal state.
I hope some of these tips are helpful in helping you to de-stress over the holiday season.