While the holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, the hustle and bustle and never-ending to-do lists can bring unwanted stress and pressure. The following are some tried-and-true techniques to help you relax and ensure all is calm and bright when you’re on the go.
1. Take some deep breaths.
Deep breathing may seem like a no-brainer, but it truly is effective and has many benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, and strengthening immunity. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, pause and take a few minutes to inhale through your nose slowly, let your belly fill with air, and exhale through your mouth. Repeat these breaths until you feel relaxed and ready to tackle your next task.
2. Do a body scan.
A body scan is a meditation technique that you can do virtually anytime and anywhere. All you do is close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and gradually bring awareness to the different parts of your body, moving from head to toe. This practice allows you to not only acknowledge physical sensations, but also feel more present. We love this quick, three-minute guided body scan from headspace.
3. Stretch it out.
It’s common for our daily stressors to accumulate and unknowingly create stiffness and tension in our bodies and minds. Stretching is a helpful way to alleviate this, promote relaxation, and improve flexibility. While yoga class is a great way to get a good stretch, it doesn’t need to be that intense or time-consuming. Check out this “deskercise” routine for some mid-day work relief.
4. Call a friend.
Got a lot on your mind? Sometimes the best thing you can do is phone a friend. Whether your companion can provide encouraging words of wisdom or is simply a pro-listener, it’ll feel good to get everything off your chest. And even if you don’t talk about what’s stressing you out, it’s a nice distraction and a definite mood-booster.
5. Listen to music.
Listening to music is a stress management tool proven to improve your mood, reduce stress, lessen anxiety, and so much more. When you need a mental break, crank up the tunes, sing along if you want, and enjoy the results. Bonus tip: create a few playlists with songs that are guaranteed to make you smile.