If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it’s time to put the following relaxation plan into action. Once you’re feeling relaxed, it will help you find greater happiness and purpose as you go about your day. Ideally, don’t wait until stress becomes all-consuming… make it a habit to use these relaxation strategies regularly and often, especially before, during and after the holidays:
One of the best, and simplest, ways to calm your nerves when you’re feeling tense or anxious is to practice more mindful breathing. Deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which induces the relaxation response.
Exercise affects a neurotransmitter that has an antidepressant-like effect on your brain while helping to decrease muscle tension.
3. Spend Time in Nature
Even five minutes in nature can help reduce stress and boost your mood, helping you to relax.
4. Participate in Activities
You Enjoy Be sure to leave time for the holiday activities you love most, whether it’s caroling, decorating your Christmas tree, or writing holiday cards.
5. Stay Positive
Those who are optimistic have an easier time dealing with stress, and are more inclined to open themselves up for opportunities to have positive, regenerative experiences.
6. Take a Break or Meditate
Taking even 10 minutes to sit quietly and shut out the chaos around you can trigger your relaxation response. Meditating during your breaks can help you to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety even more.
7. Live in the Present
Turn off your racing mind and simply focus on only the task at hand. Avoid worrying about what you need to do later in the day or tomorrow (if you have trouble shutting out such thoughts, jot them down on a piece of paper to help clear your mind).
8. Nurture Yourself
Try massage, a hot bath, mini-relaxations, or a quick walk to ease tension. Be sure you’re eating right, sleeping well and laughing often.
9. Be Grateful
Focus on what you’re grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal and write down why you’re grateful each day. Focus on what you do have this holiday season instead of what you don’t.
10. Use Visualization
Close your eyes and imagine yourself relaxing on the beach or sitting in front of a cozy fireplace with your family. You can also visualize your “perfect” holiday, which is especially useful if you’re worrying over what might go wrong. (Although, you should let go of the idea that your holiday must be perfect in order to be enjoyable.)
Dr. Joseph Mercola, Relax During the Holidays, Website Article, December 23, 2013.