Give Yourself a Break!
The holidays are upon us and many are stressed to the max. Our expectations are over-the-moon. Give yourself a break. Choose a couple of things from your to-do list and pare them down or cross them off. You really don’t need to make 5 dozen each of a dozen different kinds of cookies. The season will go on even if you don’t get the most elaborate ever gingerbread house made.
Studies show that one of the ways to handle stress is to do small things for others. Adding a few new things to your list of nice things you already do for others will help manage your stress. Here’s a list from Peg Johnson, Editor, WPA, of things that are easy to do:
- Say thank you to someone you don’t usually…coworkers, service personnel, your family.
- Pay for the person behind you in the fast food line.
- Hold the door for someone.
- Let someone who only has a few things go ahead of you in the checkout line.
- Leave a thank you note and maybe a gift card for your mail carrier and paper deliverer.
- Leave a thank you note taped to the garbage can when you put it out for collection.
- Let the person behind you have the next open parking place.
- Go out of your way to carry someone’s packages for them.
- Give up your seat on the bus to someone else.
- Next time you get good service in a retail establishment ask to see the manager and report the excellent service you received.
- Drop off a small bag of cookies at your neighbors house.
Now you’ve tried a few of those, here’s a relaxation script you can do right at your desk. Keep practicing until you can feel the benefits by just remembering how good it felt.
Time: 10 minutes
This quick routine can be done almost anywhere: your desk at work, in bed, in the line at the grocery store, while riding in the car, while watching TV, while listening to a lecture, at that interminable choir concert at your child’s school. It combines the benefits of deep breathing with progressive muscle relaxation.
Turn off your phone and put your computer on screen saver. . . Get comfy in your chair and close your eyes.
Draw in a long, slow breath while you imagine it filling your body.
Blow it out in a long, slow stream. . . Imagine that all the toxins in your body are leaving with it.
Draw in another long, slow breath. . . Think of the oxygen filling your cells with new life and energy.
Again, blow it out in a long, slow stream as you picture your stress going with it.
Draw in another long, slow breath. . . imagine peace entering your soul.
As you blow it out, imagine all the restlessness in your body going with it.
You are relaxed.
Now, beginning with your toes, tighten and release your muscles… Breathe in as you tighten them, out as they relax. . .Now do the same with your feet, ankles, calf muscles, and your thighs. Breathe in and out slowly as you pay attention to each muscle group.
Continue with your abdomen. . . Let it expand with good, clean, oxygen-filled air. Blow it gently out as you relax. . . Do the same with your chest, arms, hands, neck, and face.
Rest. Breathe in a normal, relaxed way. Enjoy the relaxed feeling of your body and mind.
Sit as quietly as you can for five minutes. Then open your eyes and rejoin the world, feeling relaxed and ready to face anything that lands on your plate.
Click here for printable version. Enjoy the last few weeks of the holiday season! May peace and joy be with you in the New Year.