Everyday brings its own set of challenges causing our stress response to be activated. We are long on our to-do list but short on time. This time of year especially, our to-do list gets even longer. While we're checking our list to see "who has been naughty or nice", we often are naughty to ourselves. Decreased amount of sleep, eating on the run, over-extending our time, committments and wallets are part of what this time of year brings to make that holiday party, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve PERFECT!! Right?!!
What makes things perfect is your ability to spend time with loved ones that you don't have an opportunity to see often, break bread together with your grandmother's home-made rolls, laughter and reminiscing of days and loved ones gone by.
With the added committment and travel plans, we can sometimes feel like we are at the end of our rope.
This month's Wellness Wisdom Pearl: Tips to Stress Less During the Holiday Season.
The 3 B's
As part of a mindfulness based stress reduction, mindfully and consciously breathing is paramount. Studies have shown that deep breathing causes relaxation of the body and the mind. It Activates the part of the nervous system that is responsible for "rest & digest" and achieving of state of homeostasis (balance) in the body. This results in decreased heart rate, blood pressure and relaxation of muscles. Since the body and mind are connected and influence each other, subsequently there is a reduction in stress and anxiety levels.
Digestion is enhanced due to the organs of digestion receiving more oxygen and operating more efficiently, as well as increased absorption of nutrients from healthy food that you have eaten.
Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.
An example of a breathing exercise:
Breathe in such a way that your inhalation and exhalation are the same duration; for example, count 1-2-3-4 in your mind while inhaling and 1-2-3-4 while exhaling. Make sure to inhale through your nose using your diaphragm and exhale through your mouth. At the same time, imagine or sense that you’re breathing in and out through the area of your heart. Bring to mind a heartfelt emotion like gratitude or love.
According to Oxford Dictionary, the definition of boundary is:
(a) A line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line
(b) A limit of a subject or sphere of activity
To stress-less, set your boundaries or limits for subjects, behaviors, expressions or treatment that is unacceptable to you or conducive to your peace and wellness. You set the dividing line of how you allow others to treat you and most importantly, how you treat yourself. You should also establish boundaries for yourself of how you will respond to your boundaries being breached. In order to set healthy boundaries for yourself, search inside yourself and know what is acceptable and unacceptable to you, what makes you feel comfortable and safe and what makes you feel uncomfortable and/or stressed. Clarity is key; clarity on what exactly your thoughts and feelings are and embracing them with acceptance and love without judgement.
3. Balm more specifically Lemon balm
Lemon Balm is part of the mint family. It has the ability to improve mood and induce feelings of calmness. It reduces stress and anxiety, promotes sleep, improves appetite, and eases pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).Lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. One study found that 1,600 milligrams of dried lemon balm was associated with an increase in calmness for up to six hours.
**The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified and experienced in the magical world of herbal medicine.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Abundant Year!!
Yours in Health,