'Tis the season for holiday cheer, parties, gift giving and…long lines. It’s inevitable that sometime in the near future, or even as you read this blog, you will be waiting in line. Maybe it’s a line of traffic or the grocery store or a department store, wherever it may be, I have 4 ways to help keep your sanity and actually enjoy the long holiday lines.
Tip #1 Get some Essential Oils ASAP
Our nose is directly linked to our brain and nervous system. Have you ever caught a whiff of something and were immediately transported back in time? It’s that direct nose-brain connection. Our nose is seriously underrated but it’s our most powerful tool to help calm our nerves. This is why alternative nostril breathing works so well.
When my yoga students are in final relaxation pose, I go around with a lavender & chamomile oil and place a few drops in their palm to have them breathe it in. Both of these plants have cooling properties which help soothe the nervous system. After a couple of whiff’s they are relaxing in LaLa land ;)
Visit a health or natural food store to find an essential oil that you like. My favorite is Chill Pill by Aura Cacia. Keep some on you at all times... in your car, purse, briefcase, etc. Place a dab on your wrist and inhale whenever you are feeling tensed or stressed. It works wonders!
Tip #2 Live Your Yoga
Just because you’re standing in line doesn’t mean that you can’t practice yoga. Instead of tuning out while checking your email or social media (which usually leads to more stress and a pain in the neck) try practicing Mountain Pose.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees slight bent.
- Roll your shoulders back and down your spine and slightly tuck under your pelvis.
- Tuck your chin in so your ears are over your shoulders.
- Fingers pointing to the ground.
- Once you have your pose, start to count your breaths, inhaling through your nose for a count of five, exhaling through your nose for a count of five.
No one will notice what you are doing because most will be checking their phones ;) By bringing yourself to the present moment, despite how uncomfortable it may feel, you awaken to your surroundings. Maybe you’ll start practicing Mountain Pose and your breathing and you’ll remember an errand you had to run. Or maybe you’ll notice a beautiful holiday display that makes you smile. Be the calm in the storm and see how that feels for once.
Tip #3 Make a stress-free playlist
The worst thing you can do when you are stressed out is to listen to music that gets you pumped up. Create a play-list or buy a CD (yes, I’m old school like that) that includes easy listening tunes. I’ve had a guitar instrumental on repeat in my car whenever I’m stuck in a line of traffic. Maybe you can search for yoga music or instrumental songs that transport you. Default to this play-list whenever your shoulders start to hike up to your ears. Which by the way, happens all the time and we rarely notice. Check your shoulders now and pull them down your spine.
Tip #4 Check your face
The first thing I do when I feel anxiety is clench my jaw. It’s a bad habit that has led to TMJ, horrible headaches and multiple night guards. Do yourself a favor and check in with your face often. The best way to relax your jaw is to open your mouth slightly and remove your tongue from the roof of your mouth. Instant relief!
Use this tips next time you find yourself stuck in an endless holiday line. You know it's going to happen.