From traffic jams to lost luggage, holiday travel can leave you frazzled. This year, get the holidays off to a stress-free start by arriving at your final destination composed and energized. Just follow these simple tips from Kate Hanley, author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide.
Stretch It Out
Where stress starts, tight muscles follow. Ease the strain of hours sitting in the sky or on the road with a simple, seated stretch Hanley calls The Number Four: Place an ankle over the opposite knee (making the shape of a four) then lean forward and rest your elbows on your shin.
If icy roads or midflight turbulence leave you with a pounding heart and racing thoughts, Hanley recommends a little acupressure. Simply curl each finger down until it touches the palm. The subtle move lessens anxiety by slowing down the heart and, in turn, quieting the mind.
Say It Out Loud
“The very act of traveling requires an element of surrender,” says Hanley. When plans go awry (a delayed flight, a missed exit) — and they will — slowly repeat the mantra “I’ll get there when I get there.” This helps you stay mindful of what’s out of your control.
Wish Them Well
With everyone rushing to get from point A to point B, you’re guaranteed to run in to someone who will ruffle your feathers. “The trick to not losing your cool,” says Hanley, “is to develop compassion.” Instead of flying off the handle at that impatient driver or curt customer service rep, try a kindness meditation. Hold an image of them in your mind and put yourself in their shoes with an empathetic thought: “I’m sure he’s anxious to see his family” or “I bet she’s had a long day.”
adapted from Body + Soul November 2009
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