We’ve all lived some form of annual seasonal stress. Summer ends, Autumn starts to cool us down and ground us, and next thing we know, Christmas Is Coming! First, a sprinkling of twinkly decorations in the stores. Next, a flux of rubbish seasonal romantic comedies on Netflix and TV. Then shocking “What are you doing for Christmas/New Year?” type questions. Whoa! Another year is ending? Another is beginning?! And there comes the anxiety, rising and spreading through you out of nowhere.
But it can be dealt with, quite easily too. As with everything prevention is key. So here are some tried and tested, wise, easy tips with instant results to keep you anxiety-free throughout the holiday period and beyond.
- Breathing. It may sound obvious but breath can literally transform your state of mind within minutes. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Or try a few rounds of the Qigong breath, inhaling into your belly to the count of five and exhaling to the count of five - gently both ways round.
- Stretching. You don’t need to run to a yoga class. Simply take a few minutes out of whatever you’re doing to stretch and reconnect with your body. Find a YouTube yoga or Qigong video to suit your level and just do it, wherever you are. Or just get into downward dog and feel the stretch along your sciatic nerves, taking a moment to see the world upside down.
- Jiggling. You can even do this in the bathroom during any nerve-wracking event. Stand with your back straight and knees gently bent, and jiggle your entire body, bouncing up and down as if shaking off any negativity from your physical an energetic bodies. Intensify the shaking and then slow it down before stopping and taking in a moment of stillness.
- Remedies. Carry instant remedies around with you in your bag: Lavender or Frankincense essential oil that you can drop and rub into your hands and inhale deeply; Bach’s Rescue Remedy drops, gum, pastilles or spray.
- Supplements. CBD oil is all the rage right now; it’s said to offer a natural high. Kava Kava is also thought to be great for reducing social anxiety and lifting the mood. Evening Primrose and Omega 3-6-9s are said to help regulate the hormones, boost the immune system and reduce stress. B12, (best ingested in liquid form or via nutritional yeast flakes for better absorption) helps relieve anxiety, boost cognitive function and rebalance the nervous system, while B6 helps alleviate melancholy. Sunshine-Vitamin D is reputed to uplift the mood, while L-Thianine is believed to induce relaxation, improve sleep and boost mental focus and the immune system.
- Apps. There are a multitude of Android & Apple apps that offer daily tips, record your mental/emotional state to offer you a clearer perspective and even offer meditations or exercises. Most popular are Calm, AnxietyCoach, BreatheToRelax, Headspace, Moodpath, Happify and Super Better.
- Connecting. When anxiety starts to choke you it often makes you feel like you want to retreat and stay well away. The holiday season often includes so events that you’re obliged to go to, which can feel overwhelming. Learn to say no to some of them - the world won’t end. And make time for people who you really can be yourself with and feel lovely being around.
- Meditating. Dive into the silence of your soul using a high-tech gadget like the Muse meditation headband, go to a class, listen to a guided meditation or sleep hypnosis via podcasts or online, relax in a candlelit bath with aromatic oils and salt (two cups of epsom or Himalayan). Visualise your calmest self as if you’re living blissfully now and let go of spiralling thoughts. Inner silence really is golden. Especially after a day at a mall blasting warbling cortisol-pumping Christmas hits!