You know the old adage “you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself”? this is especially true during the holidays. Here are some ideas for keeping cool, calm and collected.
It’s Black Friday. The smell of the hunt, the endless lines and playing tug-of-war with a chenille cardigan at the Calvin Klein Outlet add up to serious stress overload.
Meditation works wonders! I’m the type of person who doesn’t often find that warm fuzzy feeling of inner peace that is supposed to glow during the season of giving. Dealing with this character defect is tricky, and I always turn to guided meditation, which helps me become the happy-go-lucky person that I truly want to be. Some quick tips for getting the most out of your meditation sessions:
- Find a quiet,inspiring place to meditate. A comforting room with dimmed lights and a lit, scented candle or somewhere out in nature are great places to meditate. However, sometimes I meditate in my car if I’m in a pinch and need a moment.
- Try guided meditation. Meditation Oasis is a blog and has free podcasts for download onto your computer or phone.
- Choose the subject matter that best works for your situation. Whether you need more compassion, gratitude or just help simply being, what you’re looking for with meditations is what will offer soothing words to restore your soul from “bah humbug” to “joy to the world” in a matter of minutes.
Your boyfriend’s mother is being passive-aggressive again and the turkey isn’t even out of the oven. Politely exit the living room, lock yourself in the bathroom and try this simple breathing exercise:
1. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your two front teeth
2. Exhale completely with a calming “whooshing” sound.
3. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.
4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
5. Breathe out through your mouth, lips slightly pursed for comfort, letting loose another “whooshing” sound for a count of eight.
Repeat this cycle four times and pent-up stress and frustration are guaranteed to melt away. The beauty of this breathing exercise is that it can be done anywhere, at anytime. I thank Dr. Andrew Weil for turning me on to this exercise when I came across it in one of his books as I was studying for finals in college and working on pulling out what was left of my hair.
You’ve bought your boyfriend the perfect Gucci watch, placed it neatly wrapped with love under the tree, and then his meddling ex (who doesn’t get the message that it’s over) sends him the same gift via FedEx just days before Christmas Eve. Try tapping it out.
The tapping technique works wonders. Just focus on what is bothering you and tap with your fingertips on ten easily learned acupuncture points.
- Start by acknowledging what’s bothering you and rate it from 0–10.
- Describe the problem to yourself. It helps to write it down and say it out loud.
- Then start a-tappin’. Using two fingers of your dominant hand, tap seven times on these places: pinky side of the hand; eyebrow; side of eye; under eye; under nose; chin; collarbone; under arm; wrist; top of head. As you tap, you can say phrases like “My boyfriend’s ex really bothers me and what he did is a pitiful cry for help, but I completely love and accept myself.” Or “I don’t know why my boyfriend’s ex won’t just go away…” Or “My Christmas Eve surprise is completely and totally ruined.”
- At the end of the exercise, take a deep breath and relax. Your stress scale should now be at a one or two.
- This should only be performed while alone or in front of those who truly love and understand you