Recipe For a Stress-Less Season

By Meridith Bassett, RN, Curry College Nursing Student

Shared by the Youth Health Connection from South Shore Hospital

With the holiday season approaching, children home on winter break and high school seniors applying for college, life can be hectic.  Stress can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, lack of sleep, depression, or anxiety.

Your body and mind work together to create a reaction.  Just as a stress response can be created, a relaxation response can be as well.  We have the ability to put the brakes on to create a moment of peace so our body and mind can catch up with each other.  It is like giving yourself a “time out” to regroup and then go back to your long “to do” lists, hopefully with a little more ease.  It’s important to take care of yourself during these times.

Here is a breathing exercise that can be done anywhere, and in a short amount of time:

* Find a comfortable position.  You can sit or stand, whatever is most comfortable.
* Take one hand, rest it on your chest, and rest the other one on your stomach.
* Notice the feeling of your breath moving in and out. Don’t change anything, just notice.
* On your next inhale; try to fill your stomach first, then your lungs.  When you get to the top, take another sip of air.  Hold.
* Now release the breath.  Feel your chest begin to fall; your stomach begins to soften until you completely empty all the air out.
* On your next breath in, begin to count, then inhale for 1…2….3…hold
Exhale for 1…2….3….hold
Breathe in for 1…2…3 hold
Breathe out for 1…2…3 hold. Repeat 3-5 times.
Additional stress reducing activities could include walking or some form of exercise.  Science shows that exercise increases the chemicals in our bodies that relieve stress and keep us happy.  You might attend a yoga class, meditate, write in a journal, or practice breathing exercises like the one in this article.  Life will always have some level of stress, but when those levels begin to rise, take a moment to nurture yourself.  It benefits you, and everyone around you.  Some helpful information for stress reduction can be found at:  Mindful Magazine: and Help Guide Stress Relief in the Moment