At this point in the game, any last minute tasks (like shopping and cooking and wrapping and cleaning…yikes!) is going to feel stressful due to the time crunch. Even the most organized person can feel pressure from the holiday countdown. Thankfully, our health guru Laura has put together three easy techniques you can use to stay clam and balanced during these crazy times. If you’ve been falling victim to that annual holiday pressure we all know too well, check out her tips below.

1.) Take deep breaths
It’s often the first thing that someone says to you when they see you stressed out, but it’s truly good advice.  No, really.  There’s even scientific proof.  We have nerve fibers that connect to our parasympathetic nervous system in the lower spine.  When we take a deep belly breath we push our internal organs against those nerve fibers and trigger the body to calm itself down in a very physical way.  It’s like we are saying to our body, “Everything’s cool.  Chill out.”  And it does.  The key is to make sure the breath is very deep so that the belly rises when you inhale and releases when you exhale.  Don’t confuse it with those short, huffy breaths we usually take when we are stressed.  If you don’t believe me, experiment.  Take three to five slow, deep belly breaths and notice the changes in your body.

2.) Feel your feet
While you are breathing, why not feel your feet too?  Notice the way your cute shoes surround them, how they feel supported and connected with the ground.  This simple exercise brings you back into your body and out of your head, which is important when you are standing in a long line desperate to pay for your mom’s Christmas gift and bolt, but the woman at the register is taking her sweet ass time.  Taking a moment to feel your feet and calm down will prevent you from pushing her out of the way to ring up the item yourself, or worse, deciding to just steal it.  Don’t steal.  Feel your sweet feet and relax.

3.) Make some friend dates
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the action surrounding the holidays.  You’ve got shopping to do, work or school to finish, parties to attend.  It feels like there are only two weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, rather than four.  One way to slow things down is to make a couple of friend dates – coffees, dinners, etc. where you meet up with one or two friends and sit down and chat.  You put your phones away and you are there with them.  I like to schedule these when I’m home between Christmas and New Year’s because our families will suck up as much time as possible if they can.  And that’s cool, but I consider my best friend part of my family, and I want to see her too.  So we make it a date.