Lora Hogan > Yoga  > Santa’s Stressful Season

Santa’s Stressful Season

I hate stress.

Stress.

I even hate the word stress. Did you know that there are no good definitions for “stressed” on the Internet? And trying to find one, well, that sucks and leaves a gal feeling stressed herself. Maybe that’s the idea.

But seriously.

Why is that everyone and their mother has to get so gosh darn STRESSED OUT in December?

I mean, it’s crazy. It’s unhealthy. It produces MORE STRESS. And it is starting to drive me just a teensy bit crazy.

Isn’t December supposed to be about love and compassion? Why do we all try to make it insane and hellish? Let go, people. Let go!

THE AVERAGE PERSON, STRESSED OUT IN DECEMBER:

  via

Sunshine Tips to Keep the Holidays a Stress-Free Zone (or at least, a healthy stress zone):

First of, please admit that you are stressed and notice that your behavior affects other. Start there. You can’t do nuttin’ if you don’t know you’ve got a problem.

Sleep

  • Make sure you get enough sleep. Really this one is common sense. Early to bed early to rise. Ben Franklin knew his stuff. But if you don’t sleep, everything will be worse.
  • Got a busy brain keeping you from sleep or too much energy going on? See below ideas and suggestions for drink, food, yoga, meditation, etc. help. I like to put my legs up the wall before bed when I’m uber hyped up and my brain is whirling like crazy.


Meditation

  • I’m trying to up the amount of time I’ve spent on daily meditation.  It’s one of the best ways I can personally combat the stress I’m encountering from others. If I keep myself calm, I won’t soak up their craziness.  Stay centered.  Keep Calm and MEDITATE ON!
  • Here’s a good five minute meditation that I recommend on a daily basis (or more) during the holidays or whenever you are stressed out. It’s amazing how five minutes can help you soften the shoulders (if you are like me, you have been wearing them like earrings and lost your neck to tension) and help you breathe more deeply.  Give it a shot. It’s only five minutes! (And the first two weeks of yogaglo are free!) Meditation for High Stress.

Yoga

  • Find time to do yoga every day. Even just 15 minutes of stressing can be grounding, connect you to the present moment, and let go of all the gunky gunk you are holding on to from the holidays.
  • I’ll be providing some hip openers, shoulder openers, and other short holiday at home sequences over the next few weeks to help us all decompress, let it out, and keep our bodies happy during the holidays.
  • I love to do inversions when I am stressed out. But practice safely, sometimes the stress of it all can get to you–even in your yoga poses!  This was me doing headstand during college finals. I like to call it, the LEANING TOWER OF LORA. Think we don’t hold stress in our bodies? Look at the physical evidence of it, below! (Thank goodness I used a wall for this headstand!)
Stress physically impacts us–even when we are practicing yoga. This is a headstand taken during college exams time.  See the stress? It’s hard to get centered (literally) when we feel overburdened.

Alcohol & Beverages

  •  For me, the holidays means a slew of parties, evening work meetings over drinks, etc.  It’s hard to find balance. (Which, in turn, can affect the good ol’ sleep part.) I try to only drink wine, champagne, or light beer if I’m going to drink. The other night, I completely cheated and got a “mixed drink” that was really just sparkling water in a cocktail glass. But shhh! No one could tell! Also, don’t be afraid to say no. Make sure you have at least 2-3 nights during the week where you do NOT have a drink or you will begin to feel icky. Or like you’re in college again. Neither one is a good feeling.
  • Drink tons of water. Drink at least a glass of water for every drink and water all day long. Try to limit coffee and up the water. I try to only have coffee in the am and avoid it the rest of the day.

Food

  • Don’t wait until January to keep a food journal. I think the month of December is for me, personally, the most important time to write down everything I eat.  There are so many temptations: people give you food, you go to parties, eating from stress, holiday cold beverages, etc.  Eat mindfully and keep track of what you are doing. I’ve even written down my food on a cocktail napkin at a party before to make sure I didn’t go totally crazy! (And beverages have calories too, don’t forget!)
  • Eat as healthy as possible. Seriously. When you are home, take care to have as many vegetables, whole grains, fruits, etc. as possible.  I eat a lot of prunes in December, load up on good fats like avocado (which is also a comfort food for me), and fall in love again with Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, stiry-fries, healthy soups, and winter salads.
  • Avoid the candy bars at the office and all office food. Just say no. You can have a bit of dark chocolate now and again. But say NO to the candy canes, cookies, chocolate bars, whatever may be lurking in your office.  Wait and have a good home-made Christmas cookie later. You will appreciate it so much more when it is quality.
  • Sit down for every meal. Do not forget to eat, do not eat on the run, allow at least 20 minutes for every meal. (I personally think you need at least 30 minutes.) Chew completely. Set your fork down between bites. SLOW DOWN! If you slow down your eating, you help to slow down your stress levels.

Make time for YOU:

  • What is it that makes you happy? For me it’s going for a walk, getting my hair all purty, make-overs, shopping for Christmas presents, NAPPING, reading, baking, writing in my journal. Heck, I can even enjoy a good round of vacuuming during the holidays.  But what little thing can you add to the day to give you greater joy? Figure out what it is and do whatever you possibly can to MAKE TIME for it in your day. Everyone around you will appreciate it. And recognize that others need to make time for themselves, too, or they will go bonkers. If we all work together, the holidays can be much more pleasant.

And when in doubt…think of how the holidays feel to your pet. I mean, come on, they think we are all completely nuts this time of year! And they are probably right.

My cat is like “what on earth is with this Christmas tree”?


I hope these few brief tips help y’all kick the holiday stress fest…. At the end of the day, you can only work to control your own response to the stress of the season. But I aim to lead by example. If I can not let the stress get to me, maybe I can help at least one person every day be a little less crazy?

Here’s hoping!

What do you do to cope with the stress of December?

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