It’s getting closer to the holidays, and as each day passes many people find their stress level rises.
It’s normal to be a little more stressed during the holidays. There’s a lot on our plates. We are working to get all of our work and goals completed by the end of the year. We have holiday parties to go to and host, so our social calendars are full. Not to mention the gifts to buy which stress us both financially and time-wise. Add to that the winter solstice, in which daylight becomes less and less, and we are all tired and stressed!
But there are some easy ways to lessen the stress when it hits. Whether it’s standing in a long line at a store, looking at your credit card statement, working overtime to get that last report done, or even having to deal with a negative relative. Choose a technique and take some time to relax!
Set an emotional intention for the day and go back to it
We set intentions for daily tasks, whether at home, running errands or at work. We always have a list of to-do’s we want to focus on completing for the day. But most people rarely think of how they want to feel for the day.
When you wake up, think of how you want to feel for that day. Pick a word: joy, calm, peace, loving, grateful, happy. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and whatever word speaks best to how you want to feel that day, go with it.
Then keep that word with you throughout the day. Yes, there will be moments you forget it and become stress or overwhelmed with daily tasks. And that’s ok. But that’s when you need to stop, take a breath, and remember your word. Then act accordingly.
To help you remember your word, you can type it in your phone and set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you. You can write it on a piece of paper and put it in your car, on your computer, or on a mirror. You can even write it on your hand. Just remember to check in with yourself throughout the day and remember your word.
Take time to focus on your breath
When we are stressed, our bodies react physically. Our heart races, our breathing picks up, we may even become a little shaky and sweaty. This is our bodies normal flight or fight reaction. It’s great if we need to do something physical, like lift a heavy object or run really fast. But when dealing with normal work or home stress, this reaction is detrimental to us handling it well. The body speeding up it’s processes will only increase the stress we are feeling. So it’s important to slow down this reaction by focusing on our breath.
There are many different breathing techniques out there that you can try if you wish. But just a simple slow inhale and exhale is really all you need to calm down and center yourself. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth for a count of 4. Do this 4-5 times and you will notice a world of difference!
There is a ton of activity surrounding us during the holiday season. Crowds of people walking through the shopping mall, long lines at grocery stores, tons of cars on the road, cities seem to double in population! All of this hustle and bustle can really get our stress going.
Find some time to get away from all this chaos. Whether it’s walking through a quiet garden, relaxing in your bedroom, or staring out the window watching the clouds roll by, find a time to focus on something soothing and natural. Try to do this several times throughout the day to let your mind and body rest. You will feel revived and energized after just a few minutes of nature, and ready to face the chaos with grace and peace!