The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Many of us have already noticed changing emotions and increasing stress. Autumn and the transition into winter can stir up emotion. Our environment is changing with falling leaves and whirling winds. It can be difficult not to spin in an internal whirlwind.

With the holidays come company and the desire to be around others. In order to be truly present and grounded in our experience, we must care for ourselves:

  • 1. Getting enough sleep, remembering and taking the time to eat balanced meals and breathing are great ways to start. Then, tune into your body. What is your body needing? By using our senses, we can soothe stress. Adding aromas and mindfulness throughout the day can help reduce stress.
  • 2. Make your space a sanctuary. When your environment is peaceful, the mind finds ease.
  • Our sense of smell is directly connected to our memory. Consider using aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses oils extracted from flowers, seeds, leaves, roots and fruit. Essential oils for stress include bergamot, patchouli, blood orange, Ylang ylang, lavender, chamomile and grapefruit. Oils can be heated in a diffuser to release the scent. This is great for filling a space with the scent. Other ways include adding 8-10 drops to a bath, 1-2 drops on a tissue or adding 5 drops to an unscented lotion. You can also dilute the oil with water to make a spray. Or add 10-20 drops to a load of laundry.  Personally, I like to spray my blood orange and bergamot blend when I get home. It is a helpful reminder that I have left the stress of the world and have returned to my place of peace. I use the affirmation, “I am home, I am safe, I am at peace” when I spray it. Whether I believe those words at the time is irrelevant. It is a game of tricking the mind. By saying those words, I create those thoughts. When the brain ‘hears’ that phrase and registers the smell stress reducing hormones are released.
  • 3. Finally, mindfulness is essential.  Being mindful means being present in body and mind. Taking time to breathe deeply drastically reduces stress. Give yourself 2 minutes to do nothing but close your eyes and breathe. It can be difficult to quiet a stressed mind. Feel your body completely empty of breath. Slowly inhale starting way down in the root, as you feel the belly expanding and the breath rising feel your ribs expanding, your chest opening, filling all the way up underneath your collarbones when you can no longer sip in any breath pause. Then release out though your mouth. Visualize all the stress spewing out though your mouth.

A vibrational sound environment creates a soft mind. My stress stone recommendation for the holidays is white alabaster. This fine grain is variety of gypsum. It aids the body by centering the self to further mental activity. It teaches forgiveness, enhances skills employed for serving other and allows for maturity and self-composure. It alleviates the “seeking” tension found in the mind. Alabaster allows one to understand that tension will pass and aids in diminishing internal anger or struggle.

Give yourself care this holiday season. Care for your body, care for your mind. 

Written by… Leanna Defere