Tips to breathe out your holiday stress |
Edward Health & Fitness Yoga instructor Lana Bassetto and massage therapist Brian Sommer agree quiet time is key to handling stress over these hectic holidays – and they do get stressed.
“I know I don’t handle my stress actually as well as I should do,” said Sommer, who also is supervisor of the Spa at Seven Bridges. “However, I do make it a point during the holidays to go by myself, take a cup of coffee, and sit and read.”
Because modern workers often sit long hours at the computer or drive long commutes, they tend to feel stress and tension in their shoulders, he said. A massage can relax those muscles by releasing lactic acid, stretching them out and helping them stay that way.
Massage can break the pain-spasm-pain cycle, Sommer said.
When a person is in pain, the muscles spasm, which causes more pain, which causes more spasms, and so on.
“You break that cycle and you’ll have longer periods without being in pain,” Sommer said.
Exercise is the best way to work out stress, he said. Tied to that is something simple but important: breathing.
Bassetto said a deep breath can ease frazzled nerves, and it’s free.
“We soothe the nervous system with breath,” she said. “Whether driving or standing in line, you have the secret component right in your body.”
For those who aren’t accustomed to noticing their breath, Bassetto suggests taking a beginning yoga class. Beginners should think of training their breath like learning an instrument or taking up a sport.
“Just start with observing the breath,” she said. “Pay attention to how the breathing system is working. Just notice it. Then breathe a little longer, a little slower. And as you progress, there are different ways to breathe. … You become acquainted with it, and it becomes a little easier for you then.”