Happy Holidays! Can you believe it’s December already?

For kids, that means all the fun and excitement of the holidays! Sending letters to Santa, advent calendars with treats every day, elf on a shelf, gingerbread houses, sugar cookies, goodies galore…and presents! So many presents!

However, for most parents, December invokes some very different feelings. As a mother of 6, the first word that comes to my mind when someone says “here come the holidays” is STRESS! The pressure to make the holidays “magical” for our kids and loved ones can be completely overwhelming. So, how do we manage that?

Well, for starters, let’s stop trying to be perfect. I know that is easier said than done, but think about it: Those beautiful holiday TV shows and movies we all aspire to recreate take huge crews of paid people to make them look magical. It’s not real, but we still try.

So we shop, we bake, we clean and we wrap — along with doing everything else we already have to do every day — and we completely stop taking care of ourselves.

So, ask yourself a couple of simple questions: How do I decompress? What are my stress-relieving techniques?

If you can’t answer either of those questions, then that’s the first clue that you have a problem. If you CAN answer one or both of those questions, but just can’t find the time, then it’s time to STOP and BREATHE.

According to physiologists and breathing experts, taking 6 to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day can help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. Start by breathing in your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, then breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds. If that doesn’t work, try using a meditation app, a couple of 5 minute stretches or 10 deep breaths throughout the day. And If you think you don’t have time to spend 10 to 15 minutes per day on stress relief, then you probably need 20 or more minutes per day.

Remember, your breath is one of your best defenses against daily stress, frustration, and anxiety, especially at this time of year. Give it a try! You’ll likely start to feel better and you might even notice that you’ve developed a little extra resilience and grace.

Bottom line: take time to breathe, and try to enjoy the holidays. Enjoy your time with your family, stop and appreciate the sparkling beauty of the season. When it comes to staying healthy, it’s essential to find balance and remember to breathe. Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. If you fall off the wagon, you can always jump back on it next year at MIXFIT Phoenix. 

From all of us at MIXFIT Phoenix, we hope you have a holiday that fills your heart with love and joy!