For many people, the holidays and/or time with relatives can be a source of stress. Gifts, social obligations, work responsibilities, and monetary pressure all play their part. I have found some quick tips that work for me to get me back on track when stress feels overwhelming.
I start my mornings with an app called Headspace. It’s 10 minutes of guided meditation by a British gentleman named Andy Puddicomb. Just hearing his voice makes me feel instantly calm! The app has themes within the meditation choices, so you can select a theme to help you with trouble sleeping, relationships, health, etc. The first 10 days are free and then it’s as little as $8 a month for unlimited sessions. I can honestly say that it’s changed my life.
My second tip to relieve stress is to dance. That’s right, I said dance. This means by yourself, to music you like, with the goal being to simply just move. Imagine yourself in your own little universe where your body moves like a crazy child without any previous knowledge of “dance moves.” Let your arms flail, let your legs kick, let your bootie wiggle. Just move. After one song, you will feel less stress.
Do a favor for someone you don’t know. This one warms your heart and will create endorphins within your body. Your stress level will go down. Need some examples? Open a door for someone in public. Buy someone in line behind you her coffee, his parking fee, a pack of gum. Drop off some fresh flowers at the local hospital. Give a homeless person some warm socks, a hat, or a granola bar. Compliment good parents and polite children when you see them. Be an ambassador of kindness and gratitude whenever you can. Thinking of and helping others will take the focus off of yourself and your stress.
If you are a worrier, like me, and tend to anticipate the stressful situations that are coming your way, I suggest talking them out with a friend who is a good listener. Pick a friend who doesn’t minimize your worries, but instead listens and assures you that you will get through them and you will be alright. Pick a friend who helps you prepare coping skills and strategies that will help you be your strongest self. For me, that friend is my husband, Scott. When discussing an upcoming potentially stressful situation, he helps me remember that I am learning new skills all the time, and I am continuing to get stronger as I practice them. You will too.
Sometimes when we are under a lot of pressure, we forget to take some time out to nurture our body, mind, and spirit. I try to make this a priority during these times. For me, that means scheduling time to work out, get a massage or facial, read my book club book, do my needlepoint, paint, and spend time with friends. It may be as simple as time away from the kids, time for spirituality, or time on a date with your spouse. The key is YOU time to replenish your reserves to deal with the extra challenges coming your way.
Lastly, this is my quickest technique. I learned it from a talented therapist. When you are feeling stressed, you can place your hand over your heart and breathe. It will feel like someone is taking care of you. Try it. I have used this technique in the middle of the night, while driving, in a doctor’s office, etc… It really works. I call it the instant care cure.
If you have any other quick tips for less stress, please hit reply and let me know. I’m always on the look out for some new ideas.