Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stress Reduction for the Holidays

The Thanksgiving season is a time of year to stop and reflect on all we have to be thankful for in our lives. However, it is also a time when unique seasonal stressors can take center stage. Traffic, weather changes, holiday shopping, and busy schedules are some common stressors in November and December. This season can also bring up some more serious stressors including financial concerns, unhealthy family dynamics, and feelings of loneliness.

When feeling stressed, consider these strategies:

  1. Exhale. After you have fully exhaled, inhale slowly. Your breath is really central for bringing your nervous system from the stressed sympathetic nervous system to the more relaxing and calming parasympathetic nervous system. 
  2. Take 5. This can be 5 minutes to yourself, 5 slow breaths, or 5 paces. 
  3. Consider starting a contemplative practice, even if it is only for one minute every day. How might your work day change if you started every morning with one minute of silence or one minute of focused attention on your breathing? How might one minute of silence at the start of a meeting change workplace dynamics? How might your home change if you spent one concentrated minute looking at a safe, comforting object or work of art every evening? 
  4. Stretch. I invite you to take a moment to center and ground yourself in your chair. You can interlace your fingers and stretch your arms up above your head and over to each side, if you like. Notice that your breath can always be moving, even when you are doing a simple stretch. 
  5. Self-massage. Massage your neck, shoulders, arms, scalp, hips, or wherever you feel like you are holding tension and stress. 
These are some of my favorite tips for reducing stress around the holiday season. What are some of your favorite tips?

This blog post was written by Alissa Catiis, Staff Therapist and Yoga Teacher at Womencare Counseling Center.

1 comment:

  1. My best tips? Learn to delegate and realise everything doesn't have to be perfect for people to have fun.