There is no denying it, the holiday season can be stressful. Whether you’re hosting, cooking, organising gifts or even just celebrating; there’s a lot of pressure during the holiday season and sometimes it can become a bit much.
But it doesn’t have to be. At Pivotal Motion we are here to help you make Christmas and beyond flow as smoothly as possible, so that you can come out of the holidays relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the New Year.
Requiring a focus on being present, to pay attention to your breathing, thoughts and relaxation, mindfulness can be a quick and easy way to help decrease stress levels, improve positive emotions and personal wellbeing during busy times. Meditation and mindfulness have been a hot topic recently, with multiple studies identify a number of positive outcomes from the practice.
Thankfully, with all the technology available to us, learning mindfulness techniques can be easy, whether using one of The Independent’s top mindfulness apps or specifically focused websites like Mindful, all the information is right at our fingertips.
A simple way to practice is to find a seat either on the ground, comfortably cross-legged, or seated on a chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Try to sit up straight, but do not stiffen up your upper body. Place your hands on your knees and slowly drop your gaze towards your feet, maintaining a long neck and close your eyes if you wish. Focus on taking deep, even breathes and follow the flow of your breathing. If your attention wanders calmly return it to your breathing and, once you feel relaxed, you can slowly return your attention to your surroundings and go about your day.
Make a list:
You’ve got one thousand and one things to complete before Christmas and not enough time to even think about them. Whilst hyperventilating may seem like the best option now, working out a checklist of tasks can be a great way to clear your head, identify a purpose and in doing so, relieve some stress. In writing your checklist try and group tasks which are of the greatest importance could be completed at the same time and even some which may be delegated.
Not only will this help organize your work but writing and completing a checklist can scientifically improve motivation. Our body responds to success, however small, by releasing the hormone dopamine, leading to feelings of pleasure, accomplishment and motivating us to continue to complete and succeed with these tasks. In seeing the checklist be completed, we also gain further confidence as we see the progress being made.
Exercise – “Muscle Meditation”:
Similar to completing a list, exercise can help relieve stress and improve mood due to the chemical and hormone releases during performance, plus it might create space for an extra slice of Christmas Pudding.
When we exercise, the body releases endorphins which provide the ‘runner’s high’, improving mood, decreasing stress and can help you to relax – once you’ve gotten your breath back. Thankfully, we don’t have to run for this effect, a short walk or gym session can also provide these benefits and may be more appropriate for your time and fitness levels.
Rhythmic movements of the large muscle groups required by these activities can often help you remove yourself from the worries of the day as you focus on purely your movements. If you are struggling for exercise ideas, you can check out our best tips for exercise on the go here.
When we are anxious, there is a physiological tendency to increase breathing rate, utilize our accessory breathing muscles and thus spend a lot more energy in this action. A good way to help stress and fatigue is to focus on ‘stomach breathing’, a much more efficient and sometimes calming method of breathing.
Sitting down in a good posture, maintaining a neutral spine, though not rigid, place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Take 5 normal breathes and feel which hand is moving more. If your chest is moving, focus on pushing your stomach out with each inhalation and imagine pushing your diaphragm down. Take 5 long, deep breaths, focusing on this movement. If performed properly it should be a much easier, more comfortable way to breathe and, when needed you can take a couple of minutes away to refocus on deep breathing to help release stress.
We do understand that sometimes you just need a little help to get through the stress and help treat any pain which manifests. Have no fear, Pivotal Motion is open right up to the 21st of December and reopens on the 27th, so we are here to help. You can book an appointment online or call our friendly reception staff on 07 3352 5116.