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By Emily Westlund, Program Coordinator

Ready or not, the holidays are upon us. If the thought of what’s to come (shopping! relatives! enormous family dinners!) leaves you feeling less than warm and fuzzy, try one of the techniques below. Some suggestions might jive with you more so than others, and that’s okay. The key is to find what works for you so that you can slow down and enjoy yourself during what is often a stressful time of year.

1. Positive Self-Talk

Change negative self messages to positive ones.  If your head is stuck on negative messages that play over and over, turn those messages around.


  • Begin by noticing negative messages you say to yourself and others. Now change those negative thoughts to positive. For example, change “I should have…” to “Next time I will…”
  • Focus on positive ways to think and say things. Try some of these affirmations:

I am learning to let go of worry. If I can do something I will; otherwise I’ll let go.

I am a valuable and unique person.

I am worthy of others’ respect.

I am learning to be kind and forgiving to myself.

2. Envision a Pleasant Place

When family gatherings feel chaotic, take a mini vacation. Think about a favorite spot where you have been or would like to go. What makes it so inviting?


  • Close the door or go somewhere quiet.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take four deep breaths.
  • Put yourself in a favorite spot. For example: take a walk on the beach, feel the warm sand, smell the ocean, hear the calming pulse of the water.
  • Allow yourself to see the scene, smell the smells, hear the sounds, feel the sensations.
  • Open your eyes and gradually return to the “real world.”

3. Self-Massage

Exhausted after hours of holiday shopping? Massage will help relieve tension in tired or achy parts of your body such as your head, feet and shoulders.


  • Temple release. Place palms on your temples, with fingers meeting at top of head. Gently apply pressure to palms while massaging in a circular motion.
  • Shoulder press. Reach across the front of your body to your opposite shoulder. In a circular motion, press firmly on the muscle above your shoulder blade. Repeat using the other arm.
  • Sinus-tension release. Place your forefingers at the bridge of your nose and slowly slide them down your nose and across the top of your cheekbones to the outside of your eyes.

These techniques, which are taken from our behavior change program “Creating Life Balance,” work best if practiced regularly. Pretty soon you’ll find you are able to relax within moments of starting the technique of your choice.

Happy, healthy holidays from all of us at HealthSource Solutions!