De-Stress with Quick Solutions to Try Anywhere

Find calm amid the holiday chaos

From pie baking to sale stalking, it’s going to take more than a pretty party dress to stay cool this season.

To help keep the peace, we polled Marcia M. Degelman, a specialist at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine for easy, do-anywhere, de-stressing solutions.

Waiting to Exhale
While standing in line, count your breath. Breathe in slowly, breathe out slowly (one). Breathe in again slowly, breathe out again slowly (two). Now pause for a moment. Then breathe in slowly, breathe out slowly (three). Start over at the beginning. Let the exhalations become longer than the inhalations. This will naturally slow your breathing and heart rate.

Flower Power
When you’re frustrated or overwhelmed by your to-do list, breathe in like you’re smelling the roses, and then breathe out like you’re blowing out birthday candles.

Car Insurance
When stopped in traffic, raise your shoulders while inhaling, then let them drop while exhaling. Rotate your shoulders while waiting for a light to turn green.

Hit the Wall
After a stressful day, take a moment to lie face up on a yoga mat. Bend your knees with your feet on a wall, then roll your pelvis off the floor and lower it gently. Repeat.

Animal Kingdom
Do a few cat-cow stretches. With your hands and knees on the floor, arch your back like a scaredy cat and then round it out and stick your rump up like a cow.

Water Park
When you have to let it all go, take a hot bath with Epsom salts and let your stress float away.

Hawaii 5-0
Picture yourself lying on a warm, white sand beach. Imagine the sound of the surf and bird song and the sweet smell of jasmine.

Pick and Choose
Life is stressful enough without crazy holiday expectations. Decide which traditions are important to you and your family, and let the other ones go. We can’t all make gourmet gifts for everyone we know. Set limits.

UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, 1545 Divisadero Street, at Garden Street, fourth floor (415-353-7720 or osher.ucsf.edu).

Photo: Serg Myshkovsky / Getty Images

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UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
1545 Divisadero St
@ Garden St, 4th flr
San Francisco, CA 94115