The holiday season has come and gone, and I hope you guys had a wonderful time ringing in the new year! What better way to say hello to 2012 than with a calm mind and an open heart?
Unfortunately, holiday stress is a fact of life for many of us this time of year. Between sorting out gifts, holiday parties, and hectic work and travel schedules, we can all use some me time to decompress and re-focus during this time of year. While you probably don’t have the time or cash for a full on vacation, if you can still carve out a few minutes or even a few hours for self care, it can make a big difference in your stress levels.
Here are four simple ways to decompress after a stressful holiday!
Next>> Do a little yoga
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You don’t have to attend a full-on yoga retreat to get the benefits of yoga. Escaping to a yoga class is a great way to work through some of that holiday stress and find your center. If you can find a quiet spot somewhere at home, you can even work in some quickie yoga in your day-to-day. Poses to try:
- Child’s Pose
- Cat Pose and Cow Pose – I like to rotate between these two 10-12 times
- Triangle Pose
- Standing Forward Bend
If possible, end your mini-practice with some reclined meditation. Lay on the floor and focus on relaxing your body, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.
Next>> Just breathe!
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2. Just Breathe
That headline is giving me flashbacks to my mom’s old Jane Fonda workout videos! All 80′s nostalgia aside, though, Jane had it right: breathing is good for the body any time it’s under stress.
The great thing about deep breathing is that you can work it in no matter how hectic your schedule. You can take a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe at your desk at work, on your lunch break, or even slip away at home to practice some deep breathing. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on filling your lungs with air and emptying them.
You don’t have to totally clear your head of thoughts. When you’re stressed, this is nearly impossible. Instead, let those thoughts wash over you like a wave. Try not to dwell on anything that comes to mind…just let it go. You can deal with it in a few minutes when you’ve taken some time for self care.
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We spend so much time in front of screens. Between the TV, the computer, cell phones, tablets, and e-readers, many of us look at screens for the majority of our day. It’s hard on our eyes, and being constantly plugged in means it’s hard to take the time we need to decompress.
Making a point to fully unplug, even if it’s just for an afternoon to walk in the woods or even a walk around the block with your family after dinner, can go a long way in reducing your stress levels.
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Are you feeling super stressed out? Treat yourself to a massage! There’s a healing power in touch, and a good massage therapist can really help your body recover from the tension you store in your muscles during the holidays.
Massages can be pretty pricey, but don’t despair! If you can’t afford to spring for a massage at a salon, check out massage schools in your area. Students there need to practice, and they often offer massages to the public at a discount.
Image Credit: Massage photo via Thinkstock