Stay calm during the holidays

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Holidays may mean traveling to visit relatives, hosting friends or family in your home, or just dealing with the day-to-day hustle and bustle of the fall holiday season. All of that can leave you feeling stressed. Here are a few simple things you can do to relax and enjoy this festive time of year.

Slow down and breathe. When we are stressed, our breathing becomes fast and shallow. Rapid, shallow breathing increases a sense of anxiety. We may find our jaw clenched, our neck stiff and our shoulders up around our ears.

When you notice yourself becoming tense, take a moment and focus your attention on relaxing your body. Drop your shoulders and let your arms hang loosely at your side. Soften your jaw and gently move your head from left to right and back several times to release tightness in your neck.

Take a deep, calming breath through your nose and hold for a few seconds. Then breathe out slowly, making the out-breath a few seconds longer than the in-breath. If possible, do this while seated and with your eyes closed. Just a few minutes can bring immediate stress relief.

Exercise. Physical activity is a good stress reliever. If you don’t have time for a workout, try putting more energy into your daily activities.

Practice gratitude. Make a list each day of those things for which you are grateful. This will help put minor frustrations into perspective.

Set realistic expectations for yourself and for others. None of us are at our best when pressured to create the ideal holiday experience. That is true for guests, as well as hosts. Be willing to let nonessentials slide while you enjoy special time with friends and family.

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