Even with the best of intentions, for many, the holiday season is a mixed bag of emotional highs and lows. For some, the winding down of the year provides more time to stay indoors to rest and relax.
For others, the holidays mean even greater commitments and energetic demands. Additionally, spending more time with family members can bring up challenging emotions. Even exchanging gifts can cause disappointment and anxiety around finances.
When difficult emotions arise around the holidays, understandably you may want to ‘keep it together’ and avoid these feelings. Turning towards mindless eating, drinking, or shopping often become go-to distractions.
Yet these things do little to help heal or refill your energetic cup. Instead, try to allow the feelings to be without immediately avoiding them.
The following is a simple way to relax when you feel the onset of holiday stress.
- Find a quiet place to sit comfortably away from distractions
- Put your phone away or on silent
- Rub your hands together vigorously, creating heat between the palms
- Close your eyes and cover them with your now-warmed palms
- Take a breath and notice any sensations arising in the body
- Bring the hands to the top of the hairline and gently glide your hands over your head and hair to the back of your neck. Repeat 3-5x.
- Grab ahold of the ears and give all parts of the outer ear a squeeze or a tug. Do this for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Bring the fingertips between the eyebrows and gently glide them over the top of the eyebrows. Repeat 3-5x.
- Bring the fingertips to the outside of the nose under the eye and gently glide them under the eye across the cheekbone to the outside edge of the eye. Repeat 3-5x.
- Bring the fingertips to the jawline and gently glide them down the neck to the collarbone. Repeat 3-5x.
- Bring one hand to the shoulder and glide the hand down the arm to the wrist of the opposite hand. Repeat 3-5x.
- Switch sides by bringing the other hand up to the shoulder and gently gliding it down the arm to the opposite hand. Repeat 3-5x.
- Notice any sensations or emotions arising in the body. Be with the emotions and gently speak to yourself encouraging yourself to relax.
The stress of the holidays can be overwhelming, to say the least. Finding ways to feel more grounded with meditation and guided relaxation practices can support you in not only getting through but feeling better as well.
If you find that you need more support, we welcome you to reach out.
Written by Leah Ehinger, MSW, ASW, RYT