Managing Stress During the Holidays
By Rayla Rutkoskie, Meditation & Life Coach
With the holidays coming up and families coming together, stress levels can be at an all-time high. No matter what kind of relationship you have with family members, there can be a lot of feelings to juggle all at once. Here are some holistic ideas to assist you in staying centered during the upcoming holiday season:
Rose quartz: Known as the stone of unconditional love, rose quartz is pale pink in color and carries the energy of compassion, peace, tenderness, and healing. It is most effective when placed near the Heart Chakra.
Selenite: Sometimes called Liquid Light, this calming crystal is milky white in color, encourages grounding, and helps disperse erratic emotions caused by outside influences. It is most effective when used on the Third Eye and Crown Chakras.
Atlantisite: This stone is green, purple, and yellow, and aids in lowering stress levels, encouraging one to think before speaking, and creating healthy boundaries. It is helpful to place this stone near the Heart Chakra during meditation.
Peppermint: This essential oil is not only helpful against some allergens but it can also alleviate headaches and calm one down during moments of panic. Apply to your chest or behind your ears, or massage into your temples. Using peppermint oil in a diffuser is also helpful.
Lavender: This essential oil can be used to aid in sleep, and promotes calm during times of anxiety. Apply to temples, behind the ears, or on the soles of your feet. Diffusing in the bedroom or keeping a satchel in your pillowcase is also effective.
Orange: This essential oil, along with other citrus oils, promotes energy and clarity, and can give you a natural boost if you’re feeling sluggish. If you apply this oil topically, I would encourage you to dilute it with coconut oil, as the acidity can irritate the skin. A great method is to diffuse this oil in the main living area of your home.
Massage: Although a massage can get pricey, especially when other things are on the list for the holidays, even a simple foot massage or 10-minute chair massage at the mall can help manage stress. Depending on the type of massage you choose, the physical and mental benefits range from reducing muscle tension, relieving headaches, lowering blood pressure, managing chronic body pain, aiding in better sleep, relieving stress, and promoting relaxation. Massage can not only be a way to ease pain in the body and mind but it can also be utilized by loved ones to encourage compassion and care for each other.
Yoga: This spiritual science is a powerful way to get back in touch with your body. Using a combination of breath work and physical poses, yoga can still your thoughts and bring you back into alignment. We can be guilty of going through an endless to-do list and not pay attention to the physical signs of stress we experience, pushing ourselves to the physical and mental breaking point. Incorporating a short yoga practice every day can give you the reminder to pay attention to the mind, body, and spirit. If you’re too busy to book a class, look up a YouTube video and do it in the comfort of your living room during a quiet time when you won’t be interrupted.
Petting animals: While this does require a dog, cat, or other pet, the healing effects of bonding with animals has been proven to lower stress and help people cope with the symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues. Indigenous peoples from all over the world also believe in the healing properties of animals, and some see their appearance in dreams and in person as a sign to embody the animal’s specific healing message. If you don’t have any pets, head to your local animal shelter or take a walk in nature and take notice of any animals along the way, keeping note of any animals you may want to research for healing symbolism later.
Find somewhere quiet and sit in a relaxed position with your back straight. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Feel the stress in every part of your body. On the out breath, allow your body to sink into the chair and your limbs to soften. This will help release all the tension you’ve been holding in your body. Repeat five times, or as many as needed.
Remember, when you are feeling stressed, it is a signal from your body asking you to slow down, breathe, and get centered again. Enjoy what you can when you can during the holiday season, and step away when you need to. Find a balance that works for you, and not for everything that is happening around you.