Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all. I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing time, but I do know that this isn’t the case for all. While the holidays can be magical, it can be a terribly sad time for others. Whether it is hectic because of the limited time to do the things we think we need to do or depressing because we have no one to share this time with, it can be a chore to get through this month. So how can we do it? How can we get through the tough times without losing our ever-loving minds?
Stress is perfectly summed up with this short and sweet sentence: Stress is not the events themselves, but our reaction to them. It is one of those ideas that is both simple and so deep at the same time. I have to remind myself of this thought over and over because I find it calming when I am freaking out. It is our reaction to an event that can stress us out or keep us calm. This is great because it shows us that we are in control, and that is always positive.
In another post, I will write all about stress and its effects on the body, but I want to keep this one about ways to overcome stress. We have all felt it before and while we may not know all of the negative things it is doing inside our bodies, we do know the emotional toll it takes. It would also be ideal to just have less stress in our lives to begin with, but I’m starting with baby steps here. Plus stress does come up all the time in ways we have no control over, so if we can get our reactions under control, we will be well on our way.
The list below is not exhaustive. Everyone is unique and special, and you may find many other things that relax you to the core that no one else does. Be true to who you are and rock your relaxing techniques.
This is the simple list of things you can do to decrease stress:
Meditation – You can find guided meditations all over the internet. These are great if you don’t really know what to do in a meditation. There are also breathing meditations where you start by counting your breaths, in and out. As your mind drifts, and it does, just calmly bring it back to focus on the breath. There is no judgement in meditation. There are so many types, but these are the two I am most familiar with. This doesn’t have to be any great length of time. Start with 5 minutes to get used to it and go up as you feel comfortable. Meditation brings you into the present moment- the moment where life happens, but the moment we often forget about.
Yoga – I must admit that I have just gotten into this. For a long time, I was the jerk that didn’t do it because it was popular, and I disregarded it as a fad. I have found the light though. It brings awareness to your breath and body and in that way, to the present moment. There are many online videos, books, and classes you can take. With yoga, it’s not about how you compare to others, it’s about where you are in your journey and how you feel while practicing.
Deep breathing – This is a quick way to bring your mind back to the present moment, which you may have noticed, is the common theme! Mindfulness is what we are going for. This is a great one for being in public, like work or (for me) a mall. Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath in, in, in, in, hold, and let it out, slowly. Feel the breath in your body and where it goes. If you have a spot that is in pain, have that deep relaxing breath flow to that part. This can be done as many times as is needed.
Being in nature – This is a favorite of mine. This summer I planted my first garden, and I was constantly amazed by the idea of all the variations that can come from such a small life form – the seed. I got lost in the idea of how much wisdom is in such a small package. Nature makes you think, and in some cases, turns the thinking off and brings you back to where we all come from and where we will all return, the earth. We are all connected to it and we are all a part of it, so the closer we can be to nature, the more we are going to relax and just be. Get deep into nature. The Japanese have a term for this called ‘forest bathing’ and I think this is such a beautiful visualization of what nature can do for us. I am imagining soft branches swathing the dirt-stress off of us. A full body stress cleanse!
Grounding/Earthing – It is related to the one above, but differs a little bit. This one gets deeper into the idea of vibrations, energy fields, or life force. The way I understand it is to go barefoot on the earth to connect to the vibrations. The energy of the earth is relaxing and when you are connected to it, it flows through you. This one is a cool one to look deeper into because as of this moment, the science of it is beyond me. Lucky for me, we don’t have to fully understand something to get the benefits from it.
Gratitude – Gratitude is so powerful. It can be as easy as listing 3 things you’re grateful for before dinner or bed. There are so many benefits to gratitude, it’s just a matter of starting.
Exercise – Exercise is a stress reliever. Pick an exercise you love to make it easier to stick with.
Others – This is a list that may differ from person to person and may help you bring out the activities that you love. Things like: reading, listening to music, dancing, cooking, sewing, having a bath, getting a foot rub, breathing in essential oils, watching your pets do anything, infinite etc.
There are so many ways to relax and de-stress that are unique to each of us. I hope this has helped you find the things that you love and make you feel amazing. I have only done a very short overview of the points listed. Please feel free to delve deeper into any of the points to find out more.
If the stress you carry around is more of the chronic, long lasting brand, it may be beneficial to look at big areas of your life to see if they fit into your life purpose. You may even need to search out your life purpose. One idea that has been coming to me over and over again from many sources is the realization that all you ever need to know about yourself and life is already a part of you. How incredible. So start getting deep into yourself and find what makes you tick. All the answers are there.
Thank you for being a part of my life and journey, and I would love to hear if you found this helpful and what your top choices are for stress relief.