By Helen A.

Reduce Stress

If there is one time of year when we all can benefit from stress-reducing techniques, it’s the holiday season. With so many obligations encroaching on our time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and well, stressed out. Add to that all of the uncertainty we are facing in the first months of 2021 (health, financial, political, you name it), and we can all benefit from ways to calm our frazzled nerves.

Although most things we encounter are out of our control (another person’s reaction to a situation, the weather on any given day, etc.) we ARE in control of how we react to those factors. Self-talk (telling ourselves to stay calm) is helpful, as is using the technique of “box breathing”.

Box breathing, sometimes called square breathing, is a way to focus on your intake and output of breath, which in turn helps you to relax and become calmer.

Box Breathing Technique

To box breathe, you simply inhale to a count of four, hold that breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold the exhalation for a count of four. It’s easy to envision creating a square in your mind with each count of four building one side of the square. Practice this technique for a minute or two, or more if you have the time. This technique coincides with developing mindfulness, which can help us to reduce anxiety and regulate our emotions. You can find more information here.

Always remember that if you experience any type of physical distress, stop the activity and consult a health care professional.

Make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to make time to deep breathe and relax your mind as needed!

Helen A.

Helen A.

Give her a crossword puzzle to work, and Helen is one happy camper. She also enjoys making recipes healthier, developing her green thumb, and tracking her daily steps on walks with her husband.

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