Reducing anxiety during the holidays

As Christmas approaches, the lists of presents, errands, and parties are in full force and with that comes a good amount of anxiety. It is easy to tell yourself to relax but the challenge is to actually find ways to embrace this time of year. One of the most important ways to start reducing anxiety is to connect your physical presence (your body) with your mind. I am going to share one breathing technique that will help you enjoy a moment of calm and embrace some present moment awareness.

To start, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and take a moment to wiggle your toes and truly feel your feet touching the ground. This is a simple way to remind you of where you are at this moment. Are you in a dark room or a bright one? How do your feet feel against the floor? Really ask yourself how you feel in the chair. The goal here is to start focusing on where you are and stop focusing on where you have been or where you are going to be. Now, as you sit in your chair, close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath in and then slowly exhale and try to make your exhale longer than your inhale. You can do this by counting your breath (i.e. breath in to the count of 5 and out to the count of 6. As you take each inhale, I want you to remind yourself that you are breathing in fresh air and replenishing your body. As you exhale, remember to let your body relax; feel your shoulders drop and your jaw release tension; and remind yourself that you are letting go of all your lists and holiday stress. These breaths can be done for 2-5 minutes or you can simply count 10 breaths and go about your day!

I hope this simple exercise will help you get through the next couple of weeks and have a wonderful winter break!

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