I know, you’re thinking, how can I take a breath when I have a shopping list to get to, supplies to buy for gingerbread houses to be made at school, appointments to rearrange so I can get to the school to help make the gingerbread houses, the staff Christmas party to attend (after finding childcare and something suitable to wear) and regular life to contend with?

Well, I ask you then, if this is what your life looks like right now, how can you not

It’s a crazy time of year, even for those who don’t necessarily celebrate Christmas or Hannukah or Kwanzaa in a big way.  It’s still a time of year when people appreciate the holiday from work, the coziness that blankets the city, to get together with family and friends.  Rituals spring up in homes throughout the neighbourhood – they may be religous-based, season-based or just born from the basic human need to share and receive love.  It’s a wonderful time but for many it’s also an intensely stressful time.

There are several ways you can de-stress that don’t take a lot of energy but that can support you throughout your day.  Here are my two favourites:

1.  Roll out your yoga mat or pull up a pillow or otherwise just sit comfortably on the floor or a chair.  Roll your shoulders up to your ears as you inhale then on to your back as you exhale.  Close your eyes.  Breathe in for 4 counts (fill your belly!), breathe out for 4 counts.  Repeat 4 times.  Those may be the deepest breaths you take all day – enjoy them!

2.  Love what you don’t love.  For example, is dealing with a large crowd at WalMart giving you anxiety?  Is it frustrating trying to find a parking spot at the mall?  Tune in to something more positive and let that be the forefront of your experience.  Crank up the tunes in the car or sing a song to yourself while you try to snag a parking spot.  Are you annoyed that you had to run back to the store because you forgot to buy candy for the gingerbread house project?  While you’re scanning the bulk candy remember what these candies meant to you as a child.  (I did this yesterday!  I forgot about the fact that I dislike grocery shopping as I remembered the excitement my brother and I felt over gummy bears!)

So today, being the last Tuesday Task of 2011, feels like a good day to say “Take a breath and add some love.”

Do you have de-stressing tricks you want to share?