Surviving the Holidays with Yoga for Stress Relief

Surviving the Holidays with Yoga for Stress Relief

Mental tiredness and stress are common during the holiday season. You may feel stress while decorating your house for a party, cooking a holiday meal, or purchasing gifts for friends and family. Mental stress is an unwelcome guest during holidays and can manifest as pain, poor sleep, and severe depression.

Research shows that people will feel high-level stress this year due to surging COVID-19 cases. Thinking about your health and protecting your loved ones from getting infected with the novel coronavirus may cause additional stress. The holiday season brings happiness and joy for families and communities, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, your holiday plans may look a lot different.

It is crucial to fight stress and stay calm during the holiday season. Although you can fight stress with treatment options like antidepressant medications, they can cause adverse effects, such as increased appetite, nausea, constipation, blurred vision, fatigue, drowsiness and even loss of sexual desire. If you’re looking for a natural alternative to medications, yoga may be the best tool to relieve stress and lower depression.

How Yoga Helps Stress

Yoga is a healthy mind-body practice, which combines physical poses, meditation, relaxation, and controlled breathing. It can help you reduce stress levels, boost the production of stress-relieving hormones like serotonin and dopamine, lower your heart rate, and blood pressure.

The best thing about yoga is that anyone can do it easily. Here are three yoga poses that you can practice at any time throughout your day to alleviate stress during the holiday season. Hold these poses for as long as comfortable, and be sure to breathe deeply while holding them.

Surviving the Holidays with Yoga for Stress Relief - Yoga Pose

1.Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Bend helps calm your mind and relieve stress. If you have tension and stress in your neck and shoulder area, Uttanasana can take the tension off these areas. It allows the upper body to release pressure from muscles and relax them. While holding this pose, make sure you let go of all the stress and tension in your neck. Here is how you can carry out the forward fold pose.

1. From Upward Salute Pose, hinge at your hip area and forward fold
2. If your hands can reach the floor comfortably, allow them to touch the floor
3. Release pressure and tension in your neck by allowing it to move from side to side
4. Allow your head and neck to relax completely
5. Close your eyes and hold this position for five deep breaths

This pose improves blood flow to the brain and strengthens your core, bones, arms, back and posture.

Surviving the Holidays with Yoga for Stress Relief - Yoga Pose

2. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Down Pose increases blood circulation and oxygen to all parts of the body, allowing you to feel fresh and energized. Experts consider this pose a mild inversion because the pose positions the heart higher than the head.

Bear in mind that there are many benefits of inversions, including the supply of fresh blood to the brain, calming the central nervous system, lowering cortisol levels and boosting serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. Follow these steps to perform this pose accurately.

1. Bend your knees from Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana and place your hands down on the floor
2. Walk your legs back so that you are in an upside-down V-shape
3. Spread your fingers on the floor and press down with your hands
4.Draw your sit bones up and back, pushing your hips back
5. Peddle your heels to the floor, one at a time until you can press both as close to the mat as possible
6. Close your eyes and take five breaths

Surviving the Holidays with Yoga for Stress Relief - Yoga Pose

3. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Balasana is a great restorative yoga pose, which allows you to stretch your entire back, and shoulders. Child’s Pose enables you to relax your body completely with each breath. Not only does this pose help quiet your mind, but it also enhances your mood by soothing your brain and lymphatic system.

1. From Downward Facing Dog (above), get into tabletop position, on all fours
2. Position your hands under your shoulders
3. Position your knees under your hips
4.Make sure your big toes touch one another while keeping your knees spread wide
5. Start releasing your hips back over the heels and, at the same time, extend your arms in a forward position
6. Keep your eyes closed and hold for five breaths

If this pose is not comfortable for your hips, you can use a pillow to support your torso.

Final Words

Various yoga poses, including Staff Pose (Dandasana), Head to Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana), Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), etc., can help you cope with stress during the holiday season. However, we recommend these three poses because they are easy to perform anywhere in very little time.