From fun family traditions to colorful strings of lights and festive greeting cards, there is a lot to love about the holiday season! But add in things like work deadlines, travel, cash concerns or hosting family Christmas, and you may find yourself starting to feel less and less jolly. It’s not just you – 88% of people report feeling stressed during the holidays. Keep reading to learn 3 ways you can de-stress to avoid that Scrooge attitude and get back your holiday cheer.
Count Your Breaths
Find some me-time in your busy holiday schedule to practice breath counting. This relaxing practice can help reduce anxiety, depression, irritability, muscle tension, headaches and fatigue. To start:
- Find a comfortable position with your back straight and head facing forwards.
- Softly close your eyes and take a few deep breaths that fill your diaphragm.
- Count out loud each time you exhale: inhale … exhale … “one” … inhale … exhale … “two” … and so on.
- As thoughts enter your mind, observe them without judgment or expectation, and then return to counting your breaths.
- If you lose track of your count, simply start over at “one.”
The act of focus and deep breathing requires time and effort to improve. If you can complete two minutes when you start, strive to develop a four-minute practice. From there, gradually increase to an ultimate goal of 20 minutes.
Talk Yourself Up
How you talk to yourself is important. Self-talk such as, “I’m so busy, I don’t have time for myself” can trigger you to behave in ways that are not supportive of your goals. If your inner dialogue is filled with negative self-statements, you can change your inner speech to be uplifting and supportive. Try this two-step approach:
- Become aware of the negative things you are saying to yourself. Write them down.
- Next to the negative self-talk, write down new inner dialogue that is positive to replace the old.
For example, if your negative statement was: “I can’t believe I ate all those holiday cookies. I have no self-control. I’m a failure.” You could re-write this statement to be: “I ate more holiday cookies than I planned to today, but that’s okay. I enjoyed the holiday with my family and tomorrow is a new day. I will make mindful eating choices and reach my health goals one step at a time.”
Meet the oldest relaxation technique … meditation! To get your Zen on:
- Find a quiet place free from distraction and clutter.
- Select a mantra such as a calming word or phrase that you can repeat to help you concentrate such as “peace” or “I am present.”
- Choose a comfortable position. Try lying on your back or sit in your favorite chair.
- Relax your muscles.
- Breathe deeply through your nose. As you breathe out, silently repeat your mantra to yourself.
- Maintain a passive attitude. If you have distracting or competing thoughts, acknowledge them and refocus on your mantra.
- Meditate for 10-20 minutes by continuing to breathe deeply and repeat your mantra.
Ready to melt your holiday stress away? If you found these tips helpful, let your Profile Coach know! Your coach has more resources to help you manage your stress and create a realistic plan to help you do so.
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