It’s that time of year again. We’re shopping for all the best gifts and gadgets, baking up a storm for the holiday parties, giving extra time, money, and energy to all the things that come with the holiday season. What does all that amount to (aside from piles of debt and pounds of sugar)?
Stress — megadoses of sleep-stealing, mood-changing, mind-freaking stress.
To keep you living your yogic lifestyle, we’ve compiled this list of 10 ways to stay calm this Christmas. Enjoy!
1. Make a Mantra
Mantras are not just words or sounds we repeat to promote concentration as we meditate. We can allow them to become our personal coaching tools, pulling them out when we need a boost, a shift in perspective, or a kick in the pants.
Choose any words that resonate with things you’re dealing with, repeat them, and allow the meaning to seep below the surface and into your subconscious mind. Your mantra can be a single word, or an entire sentence. Select a few before the storms arrive, and stow them in your stress first-aid kit.
2. Get Intimate With Nature
Most of us have some aspect of nature that speaks to our souls, whether it’s a sliver of smiling moon in the night, or the pink and orange streaks of a sun-soaked sky in the morning.
Consider what moves you, and make it a habit to connect with nature in that way. When you begin to feel stressed, take a walk and absorb the sights and sounds around you, close your eyes and visualize your favorite beach or getaway. Disconnect with your stressful situation, and get intimate with nature.
3. Phone a Friend
Some of us are lucky enough to have a friend who knows every freckle on our face, every quirk we possess. They are the friends we consider family, and the people with whom our souls can undress. So why the heck have we allowed our hectic lives to make space between us? If it’s been too long since you’ve spoken with that special friend, it’s time to connect today.
Phone a friend, take a drive to his or her home, or use technology to make that virtual connection. Also, consider engaging with a new friend. Anyone at all. Just connect.
Breathwork is important because most of us yogis have either heard of it, or are already using it to control our breath on our mats. But if you’re not familiar with breathwork (pranayama), it’s time to start learning.
Yogic breathing allows us to reduce stress instantly by activating the body’s natural relaxation response (parasympathetic response). Using controlled breathing, we can reduce our heart rates, lower our blood pressure, and ease muscle tension. We encourage our bodies to enter a state of “rest and digest.”
Take a look at some breathwork tutorials online, talk to your yoga instructor, or pick up a book on the topic.
Aside from yoga and chocolate, laughter is the best medicine. According to the Mayo Clinic, a good belly laugh can lower our stress levels instantly, stimulate the major organs in our bodies by providing fresh oxygen-rich air, increase our immunity, and so much more.
So there you have it — an adult reason to kick back and watch an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, or whatever tickles your fancy.
Like laughter, music is scientifically shown to reduce stress levels. So what's your jam?
If you feel you just can’t attend another mind-numbing meeting at work or seasonal soiree because stress has wiped you out, turn on some tunes. Take a moment to tap into your inner rockstar, or use some soft melody to calm the chaos.
7. Let Something Soothe You
What’s your “something soothing?” Is it a snuggle session with your fur baby, a steaming mug of chamomile, or a good book by the window?
Decide what soothes you, and take the time to nurture yourself with that practice every day.
8. Don't Get Hangry
It might be more difficult to get ‘hangry” (hungry/angry) this season, with all the treats and platters in our reach. Still, we might not be choosing the best options, and that can make us grumpy, lethargic, and feeling downright guilty.
Make sure you’re feeding yourself well this season, and taking some healthy treats with you to holiday events and gatherings, so you’ll be less tempted to overdo it with the double fudge desserts.
Eat better and you'll feel better. Promise.
9. Just Say No
If you’re extra stressed this season, it’s likely due to your overly long to-do list. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to any invitations, obligations, or extra chores that just feel like too much.
No is not a dirty word. Don't be afraid to use it!
10. Do Yoga!
What's an extra easy way to stay stress-free and happy? Yoga, of course! Keep your calm this holiday season and sign up for the 3 Day Calm Holiday Challenge. We're starting on December 22nd, with 3 days of awesome, relaxing, 10-minute yoga classes sent straight to your inbox.
Grab your spot on the "nice list," and kick that stress with some yoga!
What are you doing to combat stress this season? Leave us your tips in the comments section.