Holidays are so stressful! When you’re struggling with buying the right gifts, getting along with family members, and managing your business through the busiest part of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You may not be able to eliminate the sources of your stress, but you can use relaxation techniques to limit the effect they have on your mental health.
Start by Getting Support
Extreme stress is a serious threat to your mental health. If holiday stress is becoming a problem for you, you may benefit from therapy. The problem may be temporary, or it could be the first indication that you need to discuss and work on dealing with all the stresses in your life. Signs that the stress is getting to you include:
- Lack of energy
- Digestive upsets
- Tense muscles
- Unexplained aches and pains
As you talk to your counselor, you can understand the sources of your stress, why they effect you the way they do, and what you can do to manage your stress. One telehealth option is https://www.betterhelp.com/online-therapy/.
Relaxation Techniques to Do on Your Own
Your therapist can teach you relaxation techniques during sessions, guiding you through each process. You can also use them on your own, whether you’re at home, at work, shopping, or even at a holiday party. Here are some of the techniques to try.
The great thing about breathing techniques is that you can do them no matter where you are. Under the umbrella of systematic breathing, there are several different techniques:
- Deep, slow breathing.
- Belly breathing – put one hand on belly and one hand on chest. Breathe so that your belly moves in and out, but your chest does not move.
- 4-7-8 breathing – breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, breathe out for a count of eight.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that’s especially helpful if your muscles are feeling tight. Begin by breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes. Then, focus on each muscle group one at a time. Tense those muscles, hold, and then release all the tension.
Mindfulness meditation can be very helpful when you’re feeling stressed. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Simply pay attention to your breath as you focus on the present moment. Let concerns about the past and future drift away as you focus on what you’re experiencing and feeling right now.
Guided Imagery Recordings and Apps
Guided imagery is a technique that helps you relax by imagining calming scenes. A therapist can lead you through the technique, or you can do it on your own using guided imagery recordings or apps. Simply sit comfortably, breathe slowly, listen, and imagine the scene described.
It’s Really Okay to Relax
Do holidays make you feel like you need to be busy and focused on getting things done every waking moment? What you need to consider is that you’ll be able to accomplish more if you’re feeling relaxed. Dealing with holiday stress isn’t easy, but relaxation techniques make it much more manageable.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.