So, the holidays are here! Many of us have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. So much fun to have, but so much work to finish before we can have that fun. So many lines to stand in, so much shopping, cleaning, cooking, hordes of kids and relatives in the house....most of us are just about done in before the main event is even close to starting!!!
All the hustle & bustle is an open invitation for stress to move in and set up shop.
Stress is not just the result of scary crazy things rearing their little monster heads. Things like snarled traffic that threatens to make you miss your flight, too many bills and not enough money, or the anxiety that arises from feeling totally alone at a time when it seems the rest of the world is celebrating together can cause significant stress.
Even the more fun stuff like parties, holiday shopping, and marathon visits with old friends and family can cause your adrenals to shift into overtime, setting off a cascade of inner events that inevitably lead to the symptoms of stress.
Symptoms like insomnia, exhaustion, anxiety, irritability, upset stomach, headache, muscle ache, elevated blood pressure, lowered immune response—it's not just the inclement weather that causes so many people to get sick at this time of year.
But there is good news—you can keep stress from crashing your holidays
So here's a little holiday magic from our family to yours to help you derail the stress train before it runs you off the tracks and over a cliff.
1. Do absolutely nothing for a little while each day
Take at least 30 minutes to an hour out of every day to sit quietly and just...breathe. Breathe deeply and steadily. One thing that happens when stress takes hold is that we begin to breathe shallowly. This deprives our body of much needed oxygen, and causes the heart rate to accelerate. The simple act of taking deep, mindful breaths can reverse this effect. (Psst: deep breathing is a great way to calm the kids too).
2. Go easy on the gingerbread lattes (and other caffeine bombs)
A little caffeine is okay, but there is truth in the statement that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. In excess, caffeine overstimulates your adrenal response. It just won't shut off, even if what you need more than anything is a quick nap. The last thing you need is to turn into an energizer bunny missing an off button—because lack of sleep will only lead to more stress, and possibly a very ill-timed cold.
3. Get out in the frosty air
Take a walk once a day outside. Or ride your bike. Or build a snowman. Or swim in the ocean, if you should be so lucky as to have a nearby ocean warm enough to jump into in December. Being in nature and moving your body helps to get you out of your head and into the present moment. And that's a very good thing.
Meditation takes the benefits of deep breathing to a whole new level. Contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn't have to be done perfectly to be effective. And anyone can do it—if you're new to meditation, try starting with this 10-minute guided meditation from certified meditation & mindfulness teacher Cynthia Sageleaf.
No time? You can meditate as part of your "do nothing for 30 minutes" time. Busy household? Lock yourself in a closet if need be. Finding time to quiet the mind and meditate is as important as brushing your teeth. Enough said.
5. Book a massage or hop in the sauna
If anyone asks you what gift would make you happy, tell them a certificate for a massage or sauna treatment. Better yet, give this to yourself. You have been very good this year. (Okay, even if you have been just a bit naughty, you still deserve some TLC).
It has been scientifically proven that therapeutic touch can reduce symptoms such as pain and fatigue in addition to alleviating stress, and the deep, purifying relaxing heat of a sauna can leave you fully relaxed and recharged. The better you feel, the better those who spend time with you will feel. Good relaxed vibes can be very contagious.
5. Get some sound therapy
It's no secret that music can rapidly improve our moods (try listening to salsa music, it's literally impossible to feel sad). And it's true that soothing classical music can calm the mind and body. But human tones are even better. That's because every cell in our body is programmed to resonate specifically with human sound—and when our bodies receive the right combination and pattern of tones, it shifts from a stressed "fight or flight" sympathetic state to a deeply calm, parasympathetic "rest and digest" state.
And that's where HUSO comes in. The uniquely calibrated frequencies included in our Home Unit programs are specifically designed to return a frazzled body to a peaceful rested relaxed place. (Tip: we especially ?Calm, Relax, and Comfort for stress relief, and Ground is fabulous for helping you feel centered again).
Stress hates it when you do these things. It will pack its bags and leave on the next flight out of town. Goodbye uninvited guest. Hello happy holidays!