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Navigating Stress: Holistic Tips for Relieving Stress During Busy Times and the Lead Up to Christmas

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, or any demanding period, stress often becomes an unwelcome companion. Balancing responsibilities, managing expectations, and keeping up with the pace of life can take a toll on our mental and physical health as well as our general well-being.

However, amidst the chaos, incorporating a variety of mindful practices, including yoga, breathwork, journaling, and more, can serve as effective tools for alleviating stress. Here, we'll explore an array of holistic strategies to help navigate stressful times, promoting mindfulness and prioritising self-care.

1. Yoga and Breathwork:

Yoga isn’t just about physical postures, it encompasses breathwork too. Techniques like 'Sama Vritti Pranayama' (equal breathing or the ‘box breath’) or 'Nadi Shodhana' (alternate nostril breathing) during yoga practice can help to regulate the nervous system, reduce stress, feelings of anxiousness, or feeling upset and induce a calming effect.

2. Journaling and Mindfulness:

Start a journal to express thoughts and emotions, promoting self-reflection and mindfulness. This practice encourages understanding and processing emotions, reducing stress levels.

Journaling serves as a therapeutic outlet, allowing individuals to process their thoughts and emotions, facilitating a deeper understanding of their inner experiences. It provides a safe space to unload worries, fears, and anxieties, leading to a sense of clarity and emotional release. Moreover, mindfulness, when practiced regularly, cultivates an awareness of the present moment without judgment. By focusing on the ‘here and now,’ individuals can detach from stressful thoughts about the past or future, reducing anxiety and enhancing their ability to handle stressful situations.

The combination of journaling and mindfulness is empowering and aids in navigating stress more effectively.

These practices foster resilience and promote a calmer, more balanced state of mind.

3. Practicing Gratitude and Grounding:

Cultivate gratitude by acknowledging things you're thankful for each day. Additionally, implementing grounding techniques, such as focusing on the senses or spending time in nature and walking on grass, sand or soil with bare feet, can anchor you in the present moment, reducing anxiety.

Cultivating gratitude involves acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of life, regardless of their scale. It shifts the focus from what’s lacking to what’s present, nurturing a sense of contentment and fulfilment. This practice not only uplifts mood but also helps reframe perspectives during challenging times.

Grounding techniques, involve connecting with the present moment through sensory awareness or nature immersion. Grounding is great for calming the mind and alleviating anxiety. Techniques such as deep breathing or breath work focusing on sensations in the body, or spending time in nature establish a sense of stability, providing a much-needed respite from the chaos of busy times, helping individuals to find inner peace amidst the storm of stress.

4. Self-Care and Self-Compassion:

Prioritise self-care activities that nourish your mind and body. These may look like meditation, listening to your favourite or relaxing music, journaling about your feelings, reading a book or taking a mental health day. Engage in activities that bring you joy, practice self-compassion, and be kind to yourself during challenging times.

5. Animals, Pets, Baths, and Time with Loved Ones:

Spending time with animals, pets or taking a relaxing bath can provide a soothing escape. Additionally, connecting with friends and family can offer support, assurance, relaxation and relief during stressful periods.

6. Hobbies and Yoga Nidra:

Immerse yourself in a hobby or creative pursuit that brings joy. Consider integrating Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, a guided meditation technique, to induce deep relaxation and reduce stress.

7. Massage, Walks, and Meditation:

Schedule a massage or indulge in self-massage techniques to release tension. Regular walks, especially with a friend, allow for exercise and social connection. Meditation can also promote a calm and centred state of mind.

8. Prioritising Sleep and Healthy Eating:

Maintain a consistent sleep routine and prioritise quality sleep. Consuming whole, natural and healthy foods mindfully and staying hydrated can positively impact your energy levels and mood.

9. Relaxation Techniques and Simplifying Life:

Integrating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can significantly impact your overall well-being. Techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, breathwork, guided imagery, or mindfulness meditation offer profound benefits by calming the nervous system and reducing stress hormone levels. Engaging in these practices regularly not only helps alleviate immediate stress but also cultivates a sense of resilience in handling future challenges.

Additionally, simplifying life by decluttering spaces—be it your home, bedroom or work space, can create a harmonious and peaceful atmosphere. Decluttering allows for better organisation, minimises distractions, and promotes mental clarity. When your physical surroundings are orderly, it often reflects and contributes to a calmer state of mind. Consider adopting minimalist principles or Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” approach to possessions and decluttering, streamlining your life and creating a serene environment conducive to relaxation and wellbeing.

10. Learning to Say No and Inner Listening:

Recognise your limitations and learn to say 'no' when necessary. Listen to your inner self, inner wisdom, inner knowledge and gut instincts, they often guide you towards better decisions and reduced stress.

11. Planning Ahead and Gaining Perspective:

Plan and organise tasks to reduce last-minute stress. Gain perspective by acknowledging that some situations are beyond control and focus on what can be managed effectively.

12. Responding Rather than Reacting:

Practice pausing, taking slow or deep breaths, and thinking before reacting to situations. This approach fosters a thoughtful response rather than a reactive one, reducing stress levels.


The lead-up to Christmas or any demanding phase need not overwhelm us with stress. Integrating these mindful practices, from yoga and journaling to spending time with loved ones and simplifying life, can significantly alleviate stress levels. Embrace these holistic strategies to navigate busy times with mindfulness, self-care, and an enhanced sense of well-being. Remember, finding balance amidst chaos is an ongoing journey - explore, adapt, and discover what works best for you.

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