‘Tis the Season …
The holidays can be a crazy, busy time of year for most of us. It’s far too easy to put taking care of ourselves on the backburner while trying to get everything done for all of the others in our lives. So many things to do, places to go, people to see … and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year, but there are just not enough hours in a day to tackle my regular to-do list, let alone add-on all the extras of the season.
It gets overwhelming!
This takes a toll on our bodies and our health – it keeps us operating in that “fight or flight” mode that can be harmful if left unchecked for too long. We need to reset our bodies into “rest and digest” mode to create balance and wellness.
So, if you’re feeling a little frazzled, take 10 minutes for yourself (you deserve it) and try one these tips. I know you’ll feel more relaxed and rejuvenated – ready to be fully present and truly enjoy all the special moments of the holiday season.
#1 Ease Tension: Watch the video below to learn how to release tension in your jaw. It’s a common place to have tightness when you are stressed – by relaxing your jaw you help reset your entire nervous system which will create a feeling of calm throughout your body.
Also, be sure to give some love to the rest of your body with gentle stretching, mindful movement and other self-care techniques to soothe your aches and relieve tension. Some tips and tools can be found here from an earlier post.
#2 Just Breathe: Find a quiet place, free of distractions where you can lie down or sit comfortably. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Notice your rib cage expand as you inhale and feel it narrow as you exhale. After a few breaths, begin to scan your body for tension starting at your head. Inhale and notice if there is tension in your forehead, exhale and soften that area. Repeat this pattern as you scan down your body: eyes, mouth, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, belly, hips, legs, feet. This is great for hitting that reset button and letting tension melt away.
#3 Get Outdoors: Seek an area that feels peaceful to you; maybe where there is plenty of green space. Spending even 5–10 minutes in nature can do wonders for improving your mood. Fitting in 30 minutes of exercise can have an even bigger stress reducing impact. Physical activity stimulates the production and release of endorphins in the brain which can lift your spirits and reduce feelings of anxiety.
Ideally, make it a habit to use these relaxation strategies regularly and often, even after the holidays are over. We can’t eliminate stress in our lives, but we can learn strategies to manage it so it doesn’t build up and begin to make us ill. Take the time to reset! Let’s keep our nervous system happy so that we stay healthy and vibrant throughout the year.