The Art of Slowing Down

This is the time of year when everyone seems to be on fast-forward. In fact, the phrase “hustle and bustle” is completely synonymous with Christmas and the holidays. Stress can be off the charts, and alcohol intake often goes up in an attempt to combat the effects of stress.

So, what’s a girl (or boy) to do?

The answer? We have to train ourselves to consciously slow down when we feel overwhelmed. Simple solutions, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help considerably, without making a giant time investment.

Deep breathing: I’m talking about 10-20 deep, conscious breaths in and out, for a count of 5. 5 in, 5 out. It takes about one minute to complete this exercise, and it makes all the difference.

Meditiation: This takes stress relief one step further. You can do this, even if you’ve never done it before. Find a place that is preferably quiet and dark. Sit or lie, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. If you can do it the way I described above, then that’s ideal. While breathing, think about or whisper an affirmation. It can be “I” while breathing in, and “can” while breathing out. Or “slow” and “down.” Or whatever you want. This works.

If you’re feeling as though you might kill someone (usually a partner is the object of temporary hate here– you may be feeling like you do it all, and he/she doesn’t pull his/her weight), then I highly recommend you go ahead and attend a yoga class. If you go at night, you can often find a candlelight restorative class, or something akin to it. Yoga combines the deep breathing and the meditation, as well as some light exercise, positive reinforcement, and welcome comradery. It’s the best of the best, in terms of stress relief.

So, instead of drinking yourself into oblivion, slaying a spouse, or throwing a giant tantrum in front of your children this year (that last one hits home for me…), consider a healthier way of dealing with your anxiety and stress. After all, the holidays are meant to be fun, not stressful. TGIF!

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