Silver Bells and sweet stress

The Holidays are in full swing. No matter what or how you celebrate the season….there is a lot of activity, shopping, decorating, making and baking, eating, drinking and socializing… and S-T-R-E-S-S…..and maybe not the great big all-out stress… but enough high energy – type - tension…. going on that sometimes we get that overwhelmed feeling. Personally, I have 2 children living overseas that I am trying to send packages to and there are ‘deadlines’ with the post office, to get those items in the mail! Then…most of the holiday parties/events are of the “Pot luck” variety, which means I’m in the kitchen conjuring up some sort of high fat savory or sugary dessert. At the same time we must weave into this busy season, all of the ‘regular’ activities, like grocery shopping, doing the laundry, helping kids with homework and attending meetings and functions, besides jobs, whether full time or part time… and take care of ourselves. JUST BREATHE! A friend of mine said… “DebO, you need to take your own advice, and relax…. Hahaha”. I can’t help it, I feel stress in my life sometimes too, gotta get this house decorated and some gifts bought… running out of time! Sometimes we need to just stop and sit still for a few minutes before moving forward. I like to get up early and sit with my coffee and make a list for my day... maybe for the week; so I don't miss anything I really want to do.

Last week, we enjoyed a very restorative yoga practice at the Caldwell YMCA, and I talked a little bit about some studies on Stress (there are many – you can Google them!)…but significant is how we PERCEIVE STRESS… if we think that stress in bad for our health, then we increase our chance of dying pre-maturely, as opposed to those persons, who think a little stress in their lives is good for them… that is to say, those hormones we create with higher stress levels, actually prepare our bodies and minds to move quicker (even though we don’t have saber-tooth tigers chasing us any longer as we hunt for food)…we still prepare for “Fight or Flight” responses with those higher oxytocin levels…) anyway, the bottom line is; our yoga class took long, long restful postures to allow the body and mind to restore itself… and it was wonderfully helpful and sometimes eye opening… with our Christmas Jazz music in the background, and props to make us feel ‘yummy’…we talked about building ‘artificial stress’ in our bodies with some yoga poses and then ‘learning’ to let go and allowing the body and mind time to recuperate. We should all take time during this season to ‘let go’. Even if your restorative pose is sitting in front of your fireplace with a cup of coffee, take the time out of your day for a little peace of mind.

Swinging in the opposite direction….we should also continue our regular exercise routine, even though life get’s busy and chaotic…something needs to stay stable…and the benefits of regular exercise, long outweigh the benefits of the perfectly decorated, house, tree, yard, and kid. Take a practical look around, and make a quick decision…exercise, relaxation time, job, and prioritize the socials… maybe we have to give up one of those 3 parties on Friday night, and just attend two, and go and buy a veggie tray at the store if we run out of time. Needless to say, a little time for one's self... might mean a little less tension in the air... less crankiness...more happiness in the long run. Take time, enjoy the holiday/Christmas season….spread cheer, joy, love and gratitude. Namaste’

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