Rest and Relaxation – Simple Ways to Stress Less Before the Holidays

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As I think about packing my bags for a weekend yoga retreat at Kripalu, I feel deep gratitude for the luxury to take a ‘time-out’ for myself, and having a supportive family that allows me the freedom to do so. The build up to the holidays is stressful, and living on the east coast, I feel it gets especially chaotic because everyone is trying to cram everything in before the deep bitter-cold winter months set in. I have to admit, I struggle to keep my sanity. I have to work at making time for me, and the things I need to do to feel good, even, balanced, much less relaxed. And I fall off the wagon way more than I care to admit because, I often don’t have time to take time for me. And while every so often I can completely check out and go to a retreat, I have identified some of my rescue methods that help ground me and take the edge off of my nerves – with little time commitment involved. Here are some of my game changers:

  • Go Tech-Free Yes, you’ve heard it before, but it works. The urge to constantly absorb and respond to a barrage of news, emails and digital demands is real, and exhausting. Nothing calms me down more than just putting all the devices away for the weekend. I also shut it all down after dinner. I can see the link between too much ‘screen time’ and hyperactivity behaviors in my 5yr old son, and can definitely feel it when I am too connected. Shut it down!
  • Slow and deep diaphragmatic breathing I practice Kundalini yoga exercises that emphasize breathing to help stabilize my moods. Back home in Los Angeles I was a student of Master Kundalini instructor, Gurmukh, at Golden Bridge Yoga. I now work out to her DVD’s at home and stream her classes from Gaiam TV – these mini Kundalini sessions (some are just 6 minutes long) bring me back home – in body and mind.
  • Go Outside It’s been a while since I’ve indulged in the long, leisurely walks of my past, or hikes, or traipsing around NYC – my body just doesn’t move as much anymore and believe me, I feel it. I may not have time to build in long walks on a regular basis, but I can walk for 20 minutes in the early morning before my day gets ahold of me. Trick is, I have to roll out of bed and go before I think myself out of it. No music, just me and my thoughts as I take a brief stroll around the ‘hood. The change of scenery does wonders.
  • Take a Bath I have my lavender and rose essential oils stocked so when I need to, I can take 15 minutes for a relaxing soak. Just add some drops into the tub with some Epsom Salts and melt into the water.
So while I can’t run out to a yoga retreat at any given moment, these methods do help calm and quiet the mind and body during these often stressful times leading up to the holidays. Have a relaxed and restful weekend!