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5 Ways to Keep Your Cool This Holiday Season

No matter how hard we try, sometimes the holidays just get the better of us. With the increased traffic, busy malls and parking lots, short-tempered customers and sales staff, as well as our rush to get everything done before it’s too late, it is really surprising that more of us don’t end up losing it completely. The trick to keeping your cool is to have an “out” – something that you can do to just relax and forget about all the stress and strain of the holidays. Ready to calm down?  Here are a few ideas on how to relax.

1. Yoga

Whether for strength or sanity, yoga is an excellent exercise to turn off your brain for an hour or so, and you will find that your post-yoga high will keep you calm for a few days afterwards. There are many different types of yoga, so if you haven’t participated before, then you will want a beginner level class.  Find classes at your gym or local community center or look for a yoga studio that will have a large variety of different types of yoga classes.

2. Meditation

While some types of yoga have a meditation factor, those who need some serious de-stressing may want to skip the exercise part and go straight for the big guns. Meditation teaches you how to focus inward, instead of on all those outward distractions that are keeping you awake at night. As a bonus, you can take everything you learn and use it wherever you are (like in the line at Walmart).  If you are a beginner, look for instructional DVDs, CDs or books to help you get started with meditation.

3. Walking

The best thing about walking is you can go whenever you want, and all you need is shoes. No matter what your fitness level is, walking is usually something that you can do easily.  In order to gain the most benefits out of walking you’ll need to set a decent pace, enough to raise your heart rate a bit. Just getting outside for a quick, brisk walk can calm the mind and energize your body.  Exercise in any form helps encourage the release of endorphins, which promote relaxation and calm – something we all need this time of year.

4. Deep Breathing

If you don’t have time for a walk, or don’t want to sign up for yoga or meditation then some deep breathing may be the answer to restoring calm. Simply sit comfortably, clear your mind, and slowly inhale while counting to five (in your head). Hold your breath for one second, and then exhale for a count of eight. Repeat as many times as necessary to restore calm. Remember that you should be focusing on your breathing, not thinking about your to-do list.

5. Family Time

Sometimes all you need to restore balance in your life around the holidays is to remember what it’s about. So plan a good old fashioned family night.  Get out the board games, a deck of cards or put on your favorite holiday movie and get your family together to enjoy. Spending time together laughing and relaxing will help put everything in perspective during the busy holiday season. What do you do to keep stress to a minimum during the holiday season?  Share your ideas with us in the comments below.