Ray Hawkins is well-balanced. Not only does he inspire as a yoga therapist at MRU Cont. Ed.’s Yoga and wellness program, he has a good handle on how to deal with holiday stress. Ironically, while we collectively aspire to rest and relaxation in our days away, Hawkins notes that, “People actually become sick over the holiday period.”
“Between 75-92% of all diseases and deaths…were directly related to stress.” He cites several U.S. studies that formed the basis of his graduating paper in Holistic Therapy. Most people ramp up their output as they countdown to the holidays, “many believe they have to work long hard hours, spend money they don’t have, watch t.v. to wind down, drink too much alcohol to cope with pressures…” Hawkins states, “this simply places more stress on the body.”
There’s a definite imbalance to this cycle. “Coming into Christmas,” he regales, “many people have pushed themselves with work, school and other projects to the point of being worn down.” If this sounds familiar, Hawkins advises that the seasonal excesses, “Running around shopping centres, trying to balance budgets and stressing out over who wants what,” is not the recipe for a restful holiday.
He’s a practical guru. Not above all of this, he admits, “I get it. I work with these similar habits myself.” But how does one combat the stresses of the holiday season? “Breathe. Breathe slowly, breathe all the time.” he says. “The mind and body will follow a quiet gentle breath and relax.”
Listening to your body is one of the messages he lives in his everyday practices. Rather than overriding the system with more coffee/tea, opt for a rest or a relaxing walk in nature. You’ll find that how you spend your time leading up to your holiday will help ensure you’re able to actually have a holiday.
“You cannot give what you do not have.“ Hawkins “Fill yourself with health, love, respect and value. Then it all becomes too easy to share that with others.”
Ray has shared with us his Top 5 Tips for Balance during the holidays. To read them all, simply follow us on Twitter @MRUContEd