Once again, the holidays are upon us. The weather is crisp, the days have shortened, and the pace sometimes quickens as the holiday calendar fills with activities and time set aside for those we love. As rich as this season can be, the sometimes-overlooked reality is the heightened sense of awareness, or stress, which can cast a cloud over the joy this season was intended to inspire. Below are some tips to help you navigate the journey, hopefully creating some calm within, allowing us to keep our priorities in focus.
Check in: We ask others how they are doing all day long, but stop for a moment throughout the day and do a quick assessment of how you are doing mentally and physically, and then attend to your needs.
Breathe: This might seem like an obvious one, but breathing tends to be more shallow when we are stressed. Breathing exercises can do wonders to calm the mind. Start with taking a seated position and observe your breath for a set amount of time. Progress to inhaling for a count, starting with four, and then exhale for the same count. Practice this on a daily basis.
ITM (In the Moment): This is a discipline that takes effort, especially if you tend to be a big picture person who enjoys planning. Taking time to enjoy the moment you are in will produce a calming effect, as we tend to stress about things in the past and potential issues in the future.
Schedule relaxation: Build it into your calendar if you have to. Take a break from the phone, television, computer and the general busyness of the day and allow yourself to daydream. If this is new for you, set a reasonable time goal and then increase it slowly with each session.
Morning centering: Take a few minutes in the morning, before the day gets crazy, to ground yourself and enjoy quiet time. Read something inspiring, meditate or just enjoy the sound of the birds in the trees.
Maintain water intake, nutrition and activity during the holiday season. When we fuel our bodies well and practice regular, daily movement, we manage stress much more effectively. You may have to make modifications in this area, but attempt to be consistent in self-care; it will pay dividends in how you feel and keep your energy level up.
I wish you happiness, peace and a deep sense of joy in the midst of the hustle and bustle; make memories with family and friends and do not forget to nurture yourself; it is essential to quality of life. QCBN
By Lisa S. Fry
Lisa Fry is the Health & Fitness Director for Touchmark at The Ranch. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club, which includes an indoor pool, state-of-the-art equipment, certified personal trainers and group classes. The Club is open to anyone 50 years and older. To reach Lisa or for more information, call 928-708-3133.