Friday, December 13, 2013

Feeling stressed?

Is your schedule completely out of control these days? Your to-do list long? And your energy and patience just a bit shy of what's needed to get everything on the list checked off?

Join the ranks. Busyness already is nearly a competitive sport in our country. But at Christmas it reaches Olympic levels.

If you're reading this, you've already taken one good step. You've gotten off the merry-go-round and stopped the frantic dance even if just for a moment. Take some good solid breaths. Deep breaths. Rest your head back in the chair. Inhale deeply. Hold the breath for a few moments. Slowly exhale. Let it all out. Repeat several times. Perhaps you want to add a few stretches, too. Stand up on tiptoes and stretch one arm at a time up into the air, pointing up as far as you can. Bend to one side and then the other. Bend forward and try touch your toes—or at least get down as far as you're able. Do some shoulder circles and knee bends. Do whatever will take a few of the kinks out of your body. When it's as cold as it is now in many parts of the U.S.—including where I live—our bodies tighten up and constrict. So stretching and deep breathing help you open up inside, and they really can help relieve stress as well.

At times when I'm super busy, I just run faster. But it really doesn't help me feel any better, and often it doesn't make my work get done any more quickly either. I'm generally better off hitting the pause button and stopping to do deep breathing, yoga stretches and enjoying a few moments of meditation or quiet time. Go ahead. Do whatever will reduce your stress level. You really will be glad you did.

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