Holidays can be stressful. The hustle and bustle of work, parenting, in-laws, guests, shopping, traveling, and cooking can seem pretty hectic this time of year.
When I am feeling overwhelmed, I take a timeout to relax and do short meditation exercises. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Begin in a quiet, comfortable area with no distractions. Remember, your goal is to quiet your mind and to remain in the moment. Don’t get discouraged if you are not able to do this the first time.
Sit up straight and tall, feet on the floor, and hands on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth and release. Notice your ribs expand while the rest of your body is motionless. Breathe deeply, slowly, and smoothly. Your exhale should be twice as long as your inhale.
Focus solely on your breath. If a thought comes up, bring your attention back to your breath. You are in control – resist distractions. Try this exercise daily. Remember meditation is a practice.
Focus on your senses.
Next time you are at the coffee shop, make your focus a cup of hot coffee. Notice the sounds around you – people talking, the steam from the cappuccino machine, the sound of whipped cream topping off a cup of coffee. Notice the colorful ceramic cup, the steam, and the creamer swirling around the rim. Notice the fragrant aroma of the dark coffee beans. Notice the warm liquid going down your throat and warming you. Notice how the warmth of the cup is warming your cold hands. Notice the taste of your favorite winter drink.
Notice what it feels like to slow down and live in the moment – it isn’t a race to get through life!
You can also boost your mood and reduce stress through the food you eat or the people you surround yourself with. Do a little research to see what works best for you.