Just take a breath. It’s the advice you’ve heard since you were a kid. However, it might be exactly what you need. The holidays can be a stressful time of year. It can feel like you need to give 100% of yourself to others, whether it’s your time, energy, or mental capacity to plan events or presents. And while it can be a magical time of year, it can also be draining your mental health. It doesn’t have to be. There are tactics you can try to preserve your energy. Deep breathing is a great way to reset your thoughts and have a moment of peace and comfort.
If you’ve never tried intentionally deep breathing before, you may not know where to start. You don’t have to have 20 minutes of free time or the perfect location. All you need is a few minutes. When you stop and just breathe, you’re signaling to your brain that you’re safe. Your heart rate will slow down, and you will start to calm down. Within a matter of moments, you’ll feel more relaxed.
Just like meditation, deep breathing can be done anywhere at any time, like sitting in your car before work, at your desk, before you get out of bed in the morning, or whenever you have a few minutes.
Have you never tried deep breathing or don’t know where to start? Try with Five Deep Breaths.
Start inhaling through your nose for a count of one. Then release through your mouth for a count of two. Then slowly inhale through your nose for a count of three. Exhale for four through your mouth and inhale for five. Then you can release your breath. Doing these practices once or as many times as it takes for you to calm down can benefit you.
Is your mind racing, and you need to focus? Try box breathing.
For this breathing exercise, imagine a box and its four equal sides. This visualization will help you breathe and hold your breath for the same number of counts while you trace one corner to the next in your mind, all the way around the box.
Take slow, deep breaths, inhale through the nose for 4, hold the breath for 4, exhale through the mouth for 4, and hold the breath for four before you inhale again.
Life can be difficult and stressful, and the holiday season can sometimes exasperate those feelings. But a significant first step is to understand that you are in control of how you respond to stressful moments. If you practice deep breathing consistently, you will be better prepared when stressful moments arise.