Top 3 Ways to Tackle Holiday Stress in 10 minutes or Less - Movement-Rx

3 Ways to Tackle Holiday Stress in 10 Minutes or Less

November is here, and we have an early gift for you:

A post directly from Dr. T on holiday stress and how to tackle it:

As a former marine, a mother (of 2 children), a business-owner, and wife, I’ve seen my fair share of stress and chaos, even more so during the holidays. And the things I used to look at as inconsequential when it came to managing it are now at the root of my daily practices. One of the main drivers of my shift in routine was educating myself on how the busyness of our mind directly affects the amount of tension we hold in our bodies.

The following things typically happen in your body when you become stressed or anxious:

  • Blood flow decreases
  • You experience stiffness
  • Your breath becomes shallow
  • You experience aches and pains

When you’re able to release that tension in your mind using these three easy steps, your body will then respond in kind. Over the next 2 months as you find yourself getting caught up in financial, family, or emotional stress, give 10 minutes a day to the following 3 steps, to relieve your holiday stress in 10 minutes or less.

#1. The Breath Wave (2 minutes)

Use this one if you start to get caught up in thinking that you haven’t done enough to prepare for the holidays. It will allow you to connect with yourself and then with others, which is what holidays are about anyway.

In this first step, we’re actually going to tap into the physical sensation of the breath.

  • Begin by sitting comfortably (or lying down) and placing your hand on your belly.
  • Close your eyes, roll your shoulders down and back
  • Breathe in through your nose, pushing your hands with your belly
  • Let that breath go out through your lips. When you breathe out you should almost make a “shush” sound, like you’re quieting a newborn.
  • Repeat that breath in and out with a four second inhale, four second exhale. Do that for two minutes.

#2 Grounding Techniques (6 minutes)

Those of you who were at the off-site will remember the grounding sensation that comes from using a lacrosse ball. Using deep pressure to relieve bodily tension is one of my favorite ways to decrease mind tension.

Most of us spend a lot of our holidays sitting or traveling, which can tighten up the chest and shoulders in addition to creating stress in the mind. Ground yourself and loosen up your shoulders by placing a lacrosse ball at the top of the chest muscles (see my positioning in the pic). Use a wall or the floor to press the ball into  your chest, breathing deeply.

Another one of my favorites is to take the lacrosse ball and roll it under the arch of my foot. Most people don’t take care of their feet at all, so a little lacrosse ball TLC can go a long way to relieve tension in the mind and body.

When all is said and done, you want to spend 4-6 minutes on your chest and feet.

#3. Taking pause (2 minutes)

There is no better thing you can do when your mind starts spiraling about the holidays but to PAUSE. Just like we give our body rest periods when working out, we need to give our minds a rest from always thinking, always planning, always worrying that we haven’t done enough.

Untrained minds are like monkey minds, and one of the first things you can do to start training your wild, monkey mind, is learn to pause during your day. This is the basic premise of mindfulness. It starts with a pause, and relates to building an awareness of how you’re feeling in the moment.

Pause before you head into a holiday party, pause before you pull your phone while being present with family, pause before you fight back with your partner over something small, pause before you get angry at your kid in the toy aisle.

This mindfulness can save you embarrassment, but can also provide a neuroplastic response (or pattern interrupt) for your mind, which over time, will change how your body reacts.


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