Joanne’s Prescription to Cure Holiday Stress
The Holiday, a/k/a Stress, Season is officially underway. (I’m old fashioned and really like giving Halloween and Thanksgiving the celebration time they deserve.)
I was feeling particularly stressed on Monday evening because I had just gotten back from vacation. The vacation was great but the stack of mail and mile long to-do list were not. Feeling overwhelmed, I did the only rational thing … I went to bed – early – to escape. That worked well until about 4:00 a.m. when my eyes popped open.
As I eased into the day with some reading, the above quote appeared and gave me an idea for expanding on a short de-stress practice that I’ve found to be very useful. It’s easy and quick and could be just the prescription that works for you during the holidays.
Symptoms: frustration arising from standing in long checkout lines or sitting in lines of traffic; overwhelm from more to-do’s than hours in a day; irritability due to lack of sleep; general feelings of anxiety and tension due to the season.
- Smile: make it a big wide smile not just a little grin.
- Say “Focus” to yourself or out loud depending on where you are to stop the whirlings of your mind as it bounces from thought to thought at warp speed
- Breathe: check your breath to be sure you are breathing and not holding your breath.
- Focus on your Tension Spot. This is the first area of your body that tenses up when you feel stress coming on. For me, it is in my belly. For you, it could be there or in your shoulders or neck, etc. Try to identify the area for yourself if you aren’t quite sure.
- Visualize the tension spot releasing and letting go as you continue to breathe.
- Next, Move your attention and your breath to your belly if it isn’t there already. We usually breathe from our chest under stress, so you will need to move your attention to your belly first. Eventually the breath will follow.
- Take several Belly Breaths (click for instructions) until you begin to feel less scattered and more focused and calm.
Dosage: Repeat as often as desired whenever symptoms occur
Let me know how this works for you. And, remember, repetition anchors the practice in your body and mind making it more beneficial the more you do it.
Enjoy and Breathe Easy
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