From the December 2016 issue

Keeping Stress in Check During the Holidays

Ah, holidays: a time for fun, families – and frazzled nerves. To make things a bit more merry and bright, we talked to Anna Oginsky. This Brighton mom of three is something of an expert: She’s a social worker, yoga teacher and even a “certified soul restoration instructor.” Here are her top three tips to keep top of mind.

1. Breathe it out

Simply put, it calms the nervous system. One of her favorite techniques is “square breath.” Sit or stand with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Close your eyes, put your hands on your belly, inhale as you count to four, hold for four, exhale for four and rest for four.

“It’s great for visual learners because you can imagine drawing a square as you go,” she says.

2. Give yourself a break

Acknowledge your emotions, ask for help if you need it and don’t be afraid to share your feelings with your kids. “I know a lot of parents worry about how their emotions impact children,” she says. “One way to look at it is that by allowing your child to see you sad, for example, you are giving them the opportunity to practice empathy.”

3. Take downtime

The body is a good indicator of stress, and it must heal from a stressful day. Give yourself as much time as you can to recharge.

“Cuddle together, watch a movie,” Ognisky says. “If you’re brave – a pillow fight is a great way to let off some steam.” Or bust out the coloring books, keep a tote of “quiet activities,” or just dance in the kitchen. “Let yourself off the hook a little bit and have fun.”

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