By Rick Leeds, Yoga Therapist with RiverSpring Managed Long Term Care
During daylight savings, the days become shorter, the amount of sunlight dwindles and we often feel that there is not enough time to slow down and relax our minds and bodies.
Even as you read this blog post, begin to pay attention to how you are feeling. If you are feeling emotionally strained or notice any tension in your body, try to relax your whole being. Remember to be kind to yourself.
Stress, particularly around the holiday season, is inevitable. However, we can always take a few moments to ourselves to breathe, stretch and think positively.
Rick Leeds, a Yoga Therapist with RiverSpring Managed Long Term Care, has some helpful coping strategies for managing your stress level during this holiday season. These techniques will help you learn to stay focused on the present moment and will allow you to calmly complete your holiday to-do list.
1. Breathe In. Breathe Out.
Some of us may think of mediation as lying/sitting on a yoga mat or perhaps listening to calming music.
You do not need to be in a yoga studio or even own a yoga mat to meditate or learn breathing relaxation techniques.
Meditation is as simple as taking one minute to yourself. For example, if you are sitting on the subway, why not try some gentle breathing (inhaling and exhaling)?
This relaxation technique is particularly useful when you are on the go. Whether you are waiting in a doctor’s office, sitting in a work meeting or even waiting in line for a cashier, you can close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
In the long run, you will be more efficient and effective in all that you have to accomplish and you will be in a calmer state.
Instructions for meditating/deep breathing:
a) Start by closing your eyes.
b) As you begin to relax, take one inhale and take one exhale.
• Do this breathing technique three times with even amounts of inhales and exhales.
• Do not rush.
• Keep reminding yourself to stay calm as you continue to complete this exercise.
c) Scan your body for any stiffness.
• Relax your shoulders, your hands and your feet as you keep practicing the breathing techniques as mentioned above.
d) As you end this meditating and deep breathing session, take one more moment and place your hands over your heart center.
e) Keep your eyes closed, bring a smile to your face and then open your eyes.
2. Stretch to De-Stress
Below are 3 simple stretching exercises that will also help alleviate stress:
a) Neck rolls
• Roll your head to the right and left in each direction, quietly and calmly.
b) Drop your head stretch
• Drop your chin to your chest.
• Let the weight of your head pull you down a little further.
• Relax your shoulders and relax the back of your neck.
• Relax your facial muscles.
• Keep your eyes closed, continue inhaling and exhaling and let any stress release from your body.
c) Arms lifts
• Stretch yours arms up into the air.
• Alternate lifting the left and right arm a little higher each time as you keep breathing.
3. Read For Inspiration
Inspirational quotes and books can help us get through the dark and gloomy winter months.
Even if you only have a short time frame to calm yourself down, these few minutes for could make all the difference for yourself and everyone around you to make a more positive difference.
If you are reading this, you are already taking the correct steps to relieve your stress in a healthy way.
Enjoy this exciting time of the year!