3 Easy Steps to Achieve Holiday Ease
Stress Relieving Tools to Take Anywhere
It’s that time of year! My house looks and smells like a shrine to all things festive and Christmassy (some might call it an obsession but I prefer passion 💁🏻). The holiday ornaments have crept out from their spot in the closet, the twinkly lights have been hung, and the tree has been decorated. I also have Michael Bublé’s and Kacey Musgrave’s Christmas albums on repeat, much to my husband’s annoyance.
As enjoyable as the holidays are, they can also provoke and cause a lot of stress. Whether it's due to financial issues (so.many.gifts.to.buy), traveling, family disputes, or staying on track with your health goals, the holidays can test anyone’s patience and sanity.
To help you de-stress and calm your nerves, I have created a list of 3 simple steps to help you out this holiday season.
Remember to download my to-go essential oil diffuser blends at the end of the post!
1. Belly Breath
You might be thinking: “really Christina, breathing? That is your revolutionary tip to de-stress? I breathe all the time, and I am not feeling very ‘zen’ over here.” Stay with me because deep belly breathing calms your nervous system, elevates your metabolism, reduces acute anxiety, and improves your heart health. Yes, your breath can do all of that.
Most people take very shallow breaths, which only causes the chest to rise and fall. This type of short breath activates the sympathetic nervous system (our bodies “fight or flight” response), which releases the stress hormone cortisol into our blood system so we can run away from danger.
But, when you take deep breaths, which involves the diaphragm and belly to move with your inhales and exhales, you igniting the parasympathetic nervous system (a.k.a the rest and digest response). This type of deep breathing is called “diaphragmatic breathing” (since the diaphragm is engaged) or “belly breath” and it stimulates our body’s relaxation response. It allows your entire nervous system to calm down, which is very useful in stressful situations. It increases the oxygen in your body to nourish your cells, decreases your risks of stress-related illnesses (cardiovascular issues, digestive upsets, sleep disruptions, etc.), and can even help increase your metabolism. It seriously works like magic!
Try it for yourself: place your hand on your stomach and feel it expand and contract as you breathe deeply through your nose. Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6. Repeat 3 times. How do you feel? Are you more at ease?
Getting your body up and active satisfies its desire to move, which helps reduce anxiety, ignites your digestion, and improves your sleep. You’ll also releases those feel-good hormones to help your body and mind stay alert, energized, and calm.
And the best part? You don't need a gym membership or spend several hours a day exercising to experience the benefits. A good 20-minute workout - like a walk around the neighborhood or a quick Yoga flow - does the trick!
Cultivating a self-care practice is the simplest way to release your day-to-day stress. It calm your nervous system and enhance your confidence.
Over the past year, I have learned that taking care of myself is extremely beneficial to my overall well-being and self-worth. I am more equipped to love myself and better able to serve my health coaching clients.
Adding small acts of self-care into my daily routine has significantly improved my anxiety and has completely changed my outlook on life, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort! It can be as little as a 10-minute meditation session, taking a longer shower than usual, signing up for a yoga class, getting a massage, or turning off my phone after work for some social media downtime.
I hope these tips are helpful as the holiday parties and festivities fast approach! Please let me know in the comments below if you have other tips to share.
I wish you all a joyous season and I hope it is filled with laughter, family, and delicious food. Stay tuned for next week’s post as it will deal with creating and achieving your New Year's resolutions like the badass you are!