The holidays are undoubtedly a stressful time of year and many folks become highly vulnerable to anxiety and depression when the sleigh bells start to ring.
Instead of reaching for food, try rolling out your yoga mat. Studies have shown that a regular yoga and meditation practice can reduce stress and help fight depression.
The following is a short list of three must-do yoga poses that beat the holiday blues. Practice them at least once a day or as needed. This short series will help tame your tension and get you back in to a cheerful holiday spirit.
When you are ready to take a mental vacation from the mayhem, begin your yoga practice with child’s pose.
Come down on to your hands and knees, reach your hips back over your heels, and rest your forehead on the mat, your stacked forearms, or on a pillow. Close your eyes and stay in the pose for up to ten long, slow, deep breaths.
Child’s pose will instantly induce a state of calm and help get you feeling centered and ready to face any challenges that may lie ahead. When you are ready to exit the pose, do so slowly. Coming up too fast will negate the benefits of the pose and could be agitating to your state of mind. (more…)
When it comes to stress and frustration, sometimes it’s just good to let it out. We yell, run, punch – whatever it takes to blow off some steam. However, letting out aggression forcefully isn’t the best habit to fall into especially if you find yourself needing to do so often.
When I think of the best workouts for stress, my mind naturally goes to punching, kicking or tearing things in half. However, fitness expert and health coach Stephanie Mansour would suggest otherwise.
In college, Stephanie had a professor in an aggression and media class who told her the worst thing you can do when you’re upset is to start punching things. As a result, she’s concluded that when we’re angry or upset and need to take it out on something, we’re not teaching ourselves how to actually deal with our issues or become a mature, centered person.
As a fitness coach, Stephanie sees her fair share of clients who come to her for a stress-relieving workouts. But instead of letting them rip into a punching bag, she guides them toward these more relaxing exercise instead.
Breathing techniques – To practice intentional breathing, place your hands on your stomach and draw in air like you’re trying to inflate a balloon, and then slowly let your breath out through your nose like you’re deflating the balloon. In the process, feel your stomach getting bigger and smaller as you breathe, and think about breathing in perspective and breathing out stress. (more…)
Waking to the news about the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, this morning reminded me a lot of September 11, 2001.
My responses were somewhat different, but prior to both tragedies, I had received sad news about death and loss impacting me and those close to me in quick succession. Just this week, two families I know lost babies and other friends experienced other losses. With social media, I was also exposed to the losses of friends of friends. In 2001, I had been to four funerals in just the few months prior to 9/11. Today, the sky is gray and it matches how I think many people are feeling.
When we are stressed, we tend to reach for sugary or fatty foods. It is kind of a natural craving, but it doesn’t mean that it will help you manage your stress. While we may be most tempted to cheat on our diet plans when we are stressed or grieving, it might be the worst time to do it. (more…)
The typical American takes just two to three weeks of vacation a year. Do you fall into this category? If so, new studies suggest that too much work and not enough play may be putting your health in jeopardy.
Dean Obeideallah, a former attorney and political comedian, recently wrote an editorial piece for CNN that argued the life-saving power of vacations.
“Take a vacation or die,” he says. Otherwise, we face an increased risk of heart attack and stress, which Obeideallah argues could eventually kill us.
‘Stress causes a slough of problems such as the inability concentrate, poor sleep and even body rashes,’ he said. And contrary to what people believe, taking time off from work can actually make you more productive at work as studies have shown that people who take vacations sleep better, work better and are generally more alert. (more…)
New research regarding the division of housework was reported recently by TODAY Health, and in a nutshell, women are still doing more than half of the domestic work in the home versus men. Plus, big shocker, it’s stressing them out.
Obviously who does what in your house is between you and your spouse. However, if the stats are true, the brunt of that work will land on the woman’s shoulders. If perspective is shifted, perhaps that response of stress can be turned into reward. Yes, there just might be reward in housework and it’s possible to make it enjoyable. As enjoyable as scrubbing a toilet can be, that is.
I live in reality and no forest friends come sauntering in once I begin my cleaning routine. And apparently most Prince Charmings aren’t coming to help dust the shelves either. So, how can there be any reward in picking up after everyone else? I’ll tell you how. You can burn as many calories cleaning the house as you can running the hamster wheel at the gym. (more…)