This is my most favourite time of the year. In addition to mince pies and pannetone, I love the fact that the year’s coming to an end and a new fresh year is upon is. I love spending time with people I haven’t seen all year, going to parties and especially this year, showing my 3 year old what Christmas actually is.
However, it’s also a very stressful time for us. We have presents to buy, we need to make that budget stretch well into January, we have family to see, friends to meet, politics of both, the cooking, the cleaning, the making sure everyone is happy as well as doing all the normal stuff like work and living – it’s all a bit much and can suck the joy out of what should be a great time of year for us all.
So here are a few tips to help manage stress during the festive season – of course you can apply these throughout the year too:
- WALK – When you feel buried, stop everything for a minute and take a little walk. Outside and inside are just as good. Look around you and breathe slowly – this way you can get your mind off things. Giving your mind a 5 minute holiday decreased the feeling of chaos and lowers your stress levels. You will see more clearly and will be able to work more effectively.
- DO IT IN SLOW MOTION – When you feel stressed, try doing something in slow motion. When you do this, you will notice you’re concentrating on it more intensely. When you are concentrating, you will be more present and being present reduces stress.
- BREATHE FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH – Close your eyes. Make sure the soles of your feet touch the ground. Breathe normally, at a normal pace. When you breathe in, imagine that the breath is travelling inside of you from heaven to earth. When you breathe out, think the opposite. Keep doing this for 5-10 minutes. Deep breathing relaxes the body and concentrating on breathing calms the mind.
- GIVE THANKS ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS – List (in your mind or on paper) the things you’re grateful about right now. Try to also find things you may have taken for granted. Gratefulness boosts positivity in the body, helps you concentrate on the here and now and reduces the feeling of stress.
- A JOURNEY TO YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE – Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your favourite place. It can be any place, anywhere you feel good and calm. When you get there, look around for a bit. Who are the people there? What do you see, smell, taste, hear, feel? What kind of details emerge? Live the place with your whole body. Your body won’t know that you really didn’t go there, and it will react as though you did. When you feel the effects of the place, your body will relax.
It’s essential we learn how to manage stress so that we can prevent burnout which leads to mental health and physical challenges such as Depression. Every ounce of stress that we can manage better will serve our overall well-being so that this does not happen.
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