Holidays are here! Can you feel the excitement? Or perhaps your anticipation has been creeping up inside as tension, nervousness and anxiety. Not many of us can float around calm and collected as we shop, clean, work, prepare, cook, clean more, decorate and organize. Finding patience in the ice and snow during traffic and parking madness can be a feat of futility. We breathe. We try to relax. We attempt the art of gratefulness. Sometimes holding it all together is more challenging than not. "What have I forgotten? Will family time be flawless or fury? I've checked my list twice, but am I still forgetting something? I've spent so much already, how will I afford all this?!?" A part of us just wants to crawl back under the covers and hibernate through it all. 

Chinese philosophy describes yin and yang as complementary forces that, when in balance, will bring us peace. Winter is a yin season, a dark, soft inward pull that craves for inner reflection, rest and sleep... Yet we are expected to force the yang up and out with doing, social time and activity. Finding a 'peace' of yin this season will balance the nervous system.

Here are a few tips to Keep Calm.

Box Breathing 

This can be done anywhere. Walking, while doing dishes or sitting quietly with your eyes closed works best. Slow, deep, controlled breathing will bring your mind and body into a rhythmic balance of serenity. Inhale for a count or four. Hold your breath for 4. Exhale slowing for 4 and hold for 4. Start again. Repeat until calm. You'll be pleasantly surprised how a simple technique can transform your nerves.

Music 

If you are a music lover, be sure to blare your favourite tunes this season and give your body a little wiggle while you work. Something about Christmas music lightens the load of obligation.

Lavender 

Carry Lavender Essential Oil in your pocket or purse. One inhale can go a long way to calm, soothe and relieve stress.

Tea Time

Tea isn't just a warm drink, it can be a ritual to rebalance. The practice of taking the time to sit down alone, or with a loved one for a 'time-out', can become a break well needed, and well deserved. So, take a small rest, everything will be right where you left it when you return recharged and relaxed. Simply steep a few slices of fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon, a dash of cayenne and some real honey.

Gratitude List 

Beside your 'to-do' and 'to-buy' lists, keep a gratitude list. Write down 10 things you are grateful for, as a reminder of what's important to you. This helps to gain appreciation and is helpful reminder of what really matters. Breathe, dance and melt that stress away!
 

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