Holiday Stress and Breast Cancer

By: Brandy (Korman) Haslam


How can you reduce stress around the holidays? 

Holiday stress is hard to avoid and when you add breast cancer to the hype of the holidays, you may feel especially overwhelmed.

We recently had the opportunity to invite Sylvia Villareal, a certified yoga instructor who specializes in stress management using meditation and guided imagery, to one of our Pink Ladies meetings.

Sylvia was able to show us some of these stress management techniques which help relax and relieve stress not only during the holidays, but anytime you are going through a stressful situation or are feeling overwhelmed.

One of the meditations that we tried that was really soothing was the Loving-Kindness Meditation which is super easy. All you need is a quiet place and if you want, some soothing background music.

Begin by taking 5 abdominal breaths.

Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. This insures that the diaphragm is expanding, pulling air into the bases of the lungs.

Take a slow deep breath in through your nose imagining that you are sucking in all the air in the room and hold it for a count of 7 (or as long as you are able, not exceeding 7).

Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 6-8. The exhalation should be twice as long as inhalation.

Repeat the cycle for four more times for a total of 5 deep breaths.

Try and reduce your breathing rate to 6 breaths per minute (one breath every 10 seconds).

Finish with 5 more abdominal breaths

Sylvia also teaches many other relaxation and mind-body stress management techniques at the Inspiritas Spa.

Take away from this is to remember that whether it’s the holidays or not, we all experience stress on some level so plan carefully, set priorities, relax and take it easy!

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