The holiday season is generally regarded as a time of celebration and joy. This time of the year brings gifts, relatives, food, and stress. While the holiday season can be enjoyable, it also comes with the potential to add extra layers of holiday stress to already-hectic lives and can even worsen existing mental health conditions. According to a report by the American Psychological Society, 38% of people said they feel more stressed during the holidays, and only 8% said that their stress levels are reduced during the holiday season.
Managing holiday stress can be hard with all the preparation and planning, but it doesn’t have to be. With everything that goes into making the holiday season more enjoyable, one of the most overlooked activities is self-care through regular exercise. Simple movement exercises can be an effective way to combat the stress of the holiday season. Before the stress of the season sneaks up on you, keep reading to learn how to manage holiday stress with simple movements at home.
5 simple Moves/Pose to Relieve Stress
1. The Crocodile Pose
Many people are already feeling stressed and anxious, yet the holiday season is getting started. After almost two years of taking precautions to remain safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are grappling with social anxiety problems. Fortunately, there are many tools to help you get relief from the stress of the holiday season. And crocodile pose is one of the simple movement exercises that can help you calm your body and mind and experience inner peace.
Crocodile pose has been touted for its holiday stress-busting advantages. Studies show that crocodile pose helps to reduce stress, relieve social anxiety, promote restful sleep and regulate blood pressure. It is also helpful for people with health conditions related to the spine.
Here is how you do the crocodile pose-step-by-step instructions:
- Lie down with your stomach on the floor.
- Rest your forehead on the wrists and stack your forearms.
- Extend your legs with the feet above your shoulder width apart.
- Turn toes in or turn toes out and allow your heels to open.
- Close your eyes and let your whole body relax on the floor.
- Release shoulder blades and shoulders.
- Inhale slowly and notice the parts of the body that are moving.
- Remain in that pose for around 10 minutes.
2. The Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are an advanced movement pattern that comes with a lot of benefits, especially during the holiday season. This restorative movement pattern can help to reduce the tension from the hips and lower back. Stiff, tight hips occur as a result of prolonged sitting times. But, the hips are some of the areas where most folks hold a lot of emotions and unconscious tension. So, this exercise is perfect for people who stay in front of a desk or computer all day long.
This movement exercise comes with numerous advantages including releasing tight hips, stretching your lower back, and calming your body after a stressful holiday season.
Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to do windshield wipers movement exercise:
- Lie on your back while putting your arms straight on the sides..Bend the knees at an angle of 90 degrees and lift your legs.
- Rotate your hips to one side, without allowing your legs to touch the floor.
- Lift your legs and return them to the beginning position.
- Rotate your hips to the other side and repeat this until you complete the set.
Pro tip: Maintain your body in a T shape with your back lying flat on a mat, your abs tight and your core engaged. Exhale out as you continue rotating the legs and keeping the movement controlled and slow.
3. Belly Breathing
As we have already mentioned, the holiday is a time for people to have fun and celebrate. But it is also a season when people experience a lot of stress. When you are stressed during the holiday, your body starts to produce cortisol and adrenaline. This can cause your heart rate to increase, shallow breathing, and ultimately high blood pressure.
Belly breathing is one of the effective, simple movements for managing holiday stress and anxiety. It helps to reduce stress, lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, and elevates your energy levels.
Here is how to do belly breathing:
- Sit upright and place your hands across the belly, below the ribs
- Think of your belly as a balloon
- Inhale via your nose for approximately four seconds, as you feel your abdomen expand
- Hold your breath for almost two seconds
- Exhale slowly via your mouth for almost 6 seconds
4. The Half Wind Relieving Pose
Are you experiencing discomfort in your tummy after feasting during the holiday season? If so, the half-wind relieving pose is all you need. Not only does this pose combat bloating and gas, it also improves blood circulation in the hip joints and reduces tension in the lower back.
Here is how you can do the half wind relieving pose movement exercise at home to manage stress:
- Lie down flat on your back
- Inhale and pull your right knee to your chest
- Interlace your fingers below your kneecap
- Hug the knee on your chest gently
- Hold for about 5 breaths, deep breathing via your belly.
- Release the leg and arms on the floor on an exhale and repeat using the other side.
5. Supported Child’s Pose
As the holiday season soon approaches and your to-do list feels overwhelming, try spending at least 10 minutes in a supported child’s pose. This pose will help you to relieve signs of the holiday stress by quieting your mind and promoting, elongated breath which activates your nervous system. Besides its calming effect, the supported child’s pose helps to relieve back and neck pain, reduces anxiety and stress, and gently stretches your thighs and hips.
Here are our instructions for doing supported child’s pose at home to manage holiday stress:
- Rest on your knees
- Bow forward
- Bend your forehead
- Consider your variations
- Relax and breathe
Distress During the Holiday Season With Personal Training Sessions
By making these simple movements a daily practice during this holiday season, you are wiring your brain to look for positive things occurring in your life instead of allowing them to be crowded out by the busyness and stress of the season. Your mental and physical health is worth investing time in, particularly during the bustle and hustle of the upcoming holiday season. If you would like help learning how to implement these simple movement exercises to keep holiday stress at bay, schedule a free intro session of our #40daysofresetchallenge today!