We all feel stress at some point or other, it is the human bodies way of reacting to particular events.  Our bodies respond by activating the nervous system and specific hormones to deal with what we perceive is a threat or a challenge to us.  Our stress response can enhance our ability to perform well under pressure when it is working properly.  When it fails to turn off and reset it can cause problems, making anxious feelings harder to shift.  Learning to avoid stressful situations and what to do in these instances will help us.

The festive period can be a really stressful time for some of us.  TV and media advertising help to put undue pressure on us as we witness scenes of present giving, decorated trees and tables laden with Christmas food.  It appears to the viewer that love, happiness and plenty of money are all around.  Sometimes this is far from the truth as many people overextend themselves trying to keep up with what they think they should buy and do at Christmas.

For some people though the excitement of Christmas and all it involves far outweighs the stress of it all.  For others the anxiety can be too much, and the Christmas period is a mountain of stress and pressure that seems so hard to climb. Relationships can also be fraught during the festive season when family and friends are gathered together for hours on end in the one place.

To relieve some of the pressure we can learn to take some me time; it will help to recharge our batteries and relax us. This little exercise takes practice but once learned will help towards removing anxiety and stress when it occurs: –

Take yourself to your own quiet place where you know you won’t be disturbed and close your eyes, concentrate only on your breathing.  Take long slow breaths in and out, count your breaths, five in and five out, and continue like this for a few minutes.  This will calm you and may be all you need at that time, but if you are still feeling anxious focus your mind on the anxiety it will usually show itself as a churning feeling in your stomach.   Sit with that feeling for a moment then mentally form a ball with it put all your anxiety and stress into that ball and then spin it out in front of you.  Concentrate on it spinning in front of you for a few minutes.  What colour is your stress ball? Change it to your favourite colour; keep watching it as it changes colour and spins and when you are ready to release it watch as it spins away out of sight.  Finish by taking five breaths in and out for a few minutes.  The more you practice this the easier it will be to help you return to normal.

I hope you have a lovely stress free Christmas and very Happy New Year!