The Running Physio

TRP's Running Blog

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Breathing your way through the holidays

Image courtesy of:

Image courtesy of:

For many, this time of year can be a whirlwind. The holidays, work, finances, family, it can be easy to find yourself feeling like you're stuck in a pressure cooker, making everything feel like a bit too much. Sometimes, you just have to press the pause button, take a few deep breaths and reflect on the things that are really important to you. In fact, at TRP encourage it.

Taking a break doesn't equate to you throwing away your goals. Infact, taking a little pause is good for you, both mentally and physically. Pressing the pause button once in a while, allows for us to return to our goals with a fresh and rested mindset. The high expectations we place on ourselves, especially during the holidays, take a toll on the body. Including a mindful practice into your daily routine is a great way to not only improve the way your body responds in stressful situations (like races or the holidays), but will also improve things like your focus and relationship satisfaction.

Here is a five-minute breathing meditation to help you decompress during the holidays from

  1. Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.
  2. Notice and relax your body. Try to notice the shape of your body, its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
  3. Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
  4. Be kind to your wandering mind. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It’s very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.
  5. Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.
  6. Check in before you check out. After a few minutes, once again notice your body, your whole body, seated here. Let yourself relax even more deeply and then offer yourself some appreciation for doing this practice today.

Meditation exercises, like the one noted above from focusing on mindful breathing are a great way to deal with any holiday stress you may encounter.  We're often left feeling guilty when we get de-railed over the holidays, but it's good for us to take a break from routine as we can re-enter it feeling ready, recharged and clear-headed. Focusing on your breath, becoming more present, unplugging once in awhile, and just taking a break will help you head into 2017 feeling strong and healthy!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and mindful holiday season!


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