Okay, with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers now a thing of the past; we’ve started the count-down clock to Christmas.  Only 20 more days left to take care of gift-shopping, gift-wrapping, and preparing to make merry!!  You’re trying to maintain your usual daily routines to keep the flow.  While a great Pilates class revitalizes the core and brings suppleness to the spine, the stress of holiday hubbub can still drain your energy reserves.  You’re on your feet a lot more, carrying extra bags, having to grab food on the go, and somehow find your way back through the sea of cars in the parking lot.

Do not panic.  Take a look at the de-stressing goodies below – think of it as a ‘gift basket’ for you to pick and choose from.  Take 5 minutes to refresh yourself using any one of the tactics or combo thereof.

  1. relax your eyes de stress

    Relax your eyes

    Relax your eyes.  If it’s not from spending hours staring down your online shopping cart, then it could be from the glare of the store’s fluorescent lighting – or maybe your eyes are just dry from the winter weather. You gotta try this Franklin Method approach to imaging restfulness for your eyes – it truly helps!  Here’s the description posted from their Facebook: “Imagine your eyeballs resting on soft cushions.  Let your eyes rest downward, let them sink into the softness surrounding them. You may want to put the palms of your hands on your eyes as you practice.”

  2. Sarah Neck Vertical Release Stretch-Dec2013

    Neck stretches

    Neck stretches and the Neck Roll Exercise.  Clasp your hands behind your head and rest your skull into your hands. Let go of your neck muscles and shoulders.  Breathe fully while gently tugging the weight of your head directly skyward to relax tension in the neck.  Prefer more of a Neck roll?  Try this Basic 3 minute exercise posted by ExpertVillage on YouTube.

  3. Ankle and Wrist Circles.  Our neck seems more obvious, but please give these multi-faceted joints some love and move them full range of motion to get some fluidity back not only for the hand and foot, but to also give the fascia a break from “held” and tired positions.

  4. smoothie break

    Smoothie break!

    Smoothie Break.  Prep your treat ahead of time so that you can reward yourself for crossing items off your checklist!  Enjoy this refreshing smoothie recipe to get your greens in on the go, too!

  5. Tapping your arms.  This technique is great to wake up the nerve ending receptors throughout the body, increasing circulation and leaves you invigorated in a matter of minutes.  In the version I learned during my training with Eric Franklin we used a relaxed open hand and rhythmically “tapped” with the finger pads.  The video below shows (there’s no audio) the gentleman using a gently formed fist.  With the open hand method, you don’t have to stop at your arms – tap your lower back, your legs, even the top of your head!  Try it like he does on the shoulder and arms with a fist, and then try it with a relaxed open hand as well.  Ready to give it a go? Engage in Tapping (:43 seconds long)

  6. Chest Expansion with wide arms.
    Speaking of arms, get a gentle stretch for the shoulders and chest when you do this wide open version of Chest Expansion.  Important Safety Tip: Do put the shopping bags down before doing the exercise. 

    Sarah-ChestExpansionWideArms-Dec2013

    Chest expansion

  7. Boost Your Immune System.  Start off your morning with a tall glass of lemon water.  Besides providing a great dose of vitamin C, there are many other benefits including hydrating your lymph system and promoting gut health by aiding in digestion.  Simply squeeze half a lemon into 8ounces of lukewarm water and sip!

  8. IMG_3930-Sarah-Squat-2-Dec2013

    Squat

    Squat.  I recommend sleep of course, but maybe you need to pull a late night for some last minute touches?  If you feel like you’re dragging, ‘pump up’ the circulation with a round of 10 squats.  Then move on to that next to-do.

  9. Roller Rest.  When you are ready for a break to go horizontal grab your roller for rejuvenating cat nap.  Lay so that you are on the roller from head to tail.  The roller offers great feedback for the spine, and because it lifts you off the ground, you have the opportunity to open your shoulders here as well.

  10. LOL-Undercover-Kitten_cropped

    LOL

    LOL.  They say that laughter is the best medicine: Morgan Griffin of WebMD says “We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues….Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response… Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well.”

Rejuvenate your spirit throughout the holiday preparation and we’ll see you in the studio!

 

 

 

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