One Simple Way to Handle Holiday Stress

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The holidays are a special time. We get together with friends and family to celebrate the season and the culmination of a year gone by.  Mostly a joyful time it can also be hectic and stressful. We often get run down this time of year, biting off more than we can chew (and sometimes chewing a bit too much!) I encourage you to breath deeply during this time. It’s amazing how much more we can connect to the body when we are taking deep nourishing inhales and long cleansing exhales.

Make breathing deeply a part of your morning and evening ritual during the holidays and notice what benefits it brings you. Perhaps this behavior will stick and become a habit in the year ahead.

Three easy steps for better breathing:

1. In the morning when you wake up, take a moment before you get out of bed to take three deep breaths.  Inhale through your nose for 3 counts, filling your lungs up, letting your ribs expand in all directions. Exhale through your nose for 3 counts.

2. Inhale for 5 counts and see if you can fill your lungs up a bit more, find more room in your chest, let your abdomen rise and fill up your torso, armpits and neck with air. Exhale through your nose for 5 counts and imagine you are wringing out your lungs like a wash cloth, squeezing every last drop of air our of your lungs.

3. For the last breath see how long you can inhale through your nose, work up to 8 counts over time. Fill your whole body with air from your toes to the top of your head.  Exhale and ring out your lungs again, drawing your abdominals in and up your spine. Let your mouth open on the last few counts, relaxing your jaw.

Go about your day. Repeat before you go to sleep at night (or any time you fancy!) Try this for a week and notice what changes occur in your day–to-day life. Do you feel calmer, less harried in the morning, less stressed in your day? Perhaps you feel more energized in the morning, ready to take on the tasks ahead. When you take your breaths at night, are you sleeping better? Are you able to let the stress of the day go a little easier? Does the breathing help you to check in with yourself?

Happy Holidays from Integro Pilates!