Holidays are stressful, no doubt: so much running here and there, so much to plan and prepare, family dinners, parties and get-togethers.
If you find yourself out of breath and having a hard time concentrating, try this short little five minute practice:
1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes (if possible).
2. Notice your breath and see if you can find one word to describe it.
3. Breathing only through your nose (if possible), count your inhale (IN) and exhale (EX). Find a comfortable count for both IN and EX. Let’s use 3 for IN and 4 for EX as an example.
4. Do 2-3 rounds of breathing using a (3)-count IN and a (4)-count EX (you can use your own numbers).
5. Now, lengthen your EX one second (5 in my example) for 2-3 rounds.
6. Lengthen your EX one more second (6) for 2-3 rounds.
7. Lengthen your EX one more second (7), if comfortable, for 2-3 rounds.
8. Open your eyes and return to normal breathing and notice your breath again. What word would you use to describe it now?
One of the keys to relaxing, then, is lengthening your exhale. Try it and see it helps make your holidays a little happier!