3 mindfulness tips to keep your gut calm during the holiday season
The end of the year brings festive cheer — but also a hustle and bustle that can raise stress levels, and GI symptoms. Between family gatherings, celebrations, vacations, school breaks and more, you can practice mindfulness-based skills and other tools to activate your body’s “rest and digest” state. Even just finding a few minutes a day can go a long way toward keeping your gut happy during the holidays. Here are 3 strategies to try:
1. Stay in the moment
It’s understandable that you might feel anxious about digestive symptoms, especially if you’re traveling, eating at a restaurant, spending more time with loved ones, or changing your daily routine during the holiday season. But these worries alone can actually make your symptoms worse. Instead, practice mindfulness skills to bring awareness to the present moment. Find a quiet space, get comfortable, and focus on your thoughts — trying to let them pass without judgment. This can help regulate your emotions and your digestive tract.
2. Bring awareness to your breathing
Whether you’re excited about the holidays or feeling a little stressed, your body can tell — including your gut. And heightened emotions can trigger GI symptoms, such as abdominal pain and more. To keep your body relaxed and promote better gut functioning, remember to focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose for about 4 seconds, then exhale slowly and steadily through your mouth for about 6 seconds.
3. Set aside time for yourself
Make it a priority to find some time for yourself everyday. Even if you’re surrounded by family, let go of the expectation that you must constantly plan or connect with others. You can use small moments to practice evidence-based relaxation techniques to keep your mind and your gut calm — or do an activity that brings you joy, whether that’s taking a walk in nature, getting lost in a good book, or slowly savoring a mug of herbal tea.
Remember, the holidays come and go every year. By focusing on the present and appreciating the small moments — rather than feeling pressure for everything to go perfectly — you’ll feel more joyful, make your connections stronger, and experience a sense of ease that will benefit your GI wellness.
Want some more tips to optimize your gut health during the holidays and year-round? Get started with Oshi Health today for access to a full GI care team, including GI Behavioral Health providers and more.