Pilates reformer

Practicing Mindfulness to Reduce Holiday Stress

For many, as the holiday ads start hitting your favorite form of media, you start to feel the stress of the holidays. From high-pressure get-togethers and increased costs of gift-giving to travel delays and the pressure to dine constantly on decadent food, the holidays can be one big ball of stress for many people.

However, if you have a Pilates reformer, you can start preparing now for the holidays. Like anything in life, you can allow the holidays to control you, or you can take control of the holidays. You can use your Pilates equipment at home to not only help you focus on fitness rather than stress over fat loss, but also your Pilates workouts can give you an edge during the holidays.

Now is the perfect to not only to restart or maintain your fitness but also to practice mindfulness as a way to mitigate stress during the holidays. This post explains how your Pilates workouts give you an amazing opportunity to enhance your mind-body connection and give you a way to defend yourself against stress so that you can enjoy the holiday season.

Pilates reformer

How Pilates and Mindfulness Can Help at the Holidays

Practicing mindfulness gives you the ability to remain calm and centered even while stressed. Mindfulness makes you more self-aware, helping you understand how you react to stress and other triggers. When you use your Pilates reformer, mindfulness makes up a large part of your focus. You learn to tune into your body and the moment.

When you perform your Pilates workouts, you maximize your effort by using mindfulness. This mind-body connection can be a powerful resource that you can strengthen during workouts just like you strengthen your muscles.

Your core represents the center for all movement in your body, and strengthening it leads to many everyday physical benefits. The more you strengthen your core, the better you can control your movement.

On the other hand, mindfulness represents the center for all emotional responses in your body. The more you strengthen your mindfulness, the more in control you can be of your emotional responses. While you use your Pilates equipment at home, practice mindfulness and consider how it can help in the following ways:

  • Noticing a stress-response signal: The intense workouts you perform with your Pilates machine put your body under stress in a controlled environment. As you work out, your mindfulness tunes in to your physical responses to stress. Don’t shrink when you notice your body under stress. Instead, notice what your body is doing while under stress. Note the types of things you automatically want to do when your body feels stressed. Then consider what you should For example, while you’re going through movements, you might need to be more mindful of your breathing, which can help relieve the tension you’re feeling. Perhaps you need to correct your posture to get the most out of the flow. Regardless of what situation you’re faced with, the more you’re mindful of the stressful moment, the more alert you’ll be to the stress signal and the more prepared you’ll be to respond in a healthy way when you notice a stress response.
  • Being present in the moment: Not only can mindfulness help you anticipate and fend off stress, but also mindfulness can help you to be proactive in your choices this holiday season. Practicing mindfulness helps you soak up the moment and choose to be present and responsive to what is happening around you. You can be present whether you’re working out or stuck in traffic. Being present and mindful means accepting what situation you are in and responding to it in a healthy way. Working out on your Pilates reformer can feel stressful, but you can accept the difficult challenges and practice overcoming them. The more you practice this, the more you can seamlessly apply this to other situations in life.
  • Focusing on one thing: No time like the holidays seems busier. You have shorter work weeks, holiday parties to attend, lists for gift-giving, and lots of holiday planning in a short amount of time. Mindfulness, however, requires that you focus on just one thing. When you work out on a Pilates reformer, you encounter a lot of moving parts, but you focus on one thing, and as it becomes second nature, you can build on that success by focusing on another thing. Your focus is always on something that makes you stronger, mentally and or physically. The same practice can be applied to any stressful situation during the holidays. By focusing and accomplishing one thing at a time, you can build upon success instead of stressing out about what has to be done.

Pilates reformer

How to Successfully Practice Mindfulness During the Holidays

You wouldn’t think about hosting a holiday dinner without some preparation ahead of time. So don’t enter the holiday season without preparing yourself for everything that comes along with it. To have the best success at reducing stress, start by:

  • Work out. Working out on your Pilates reformer yields a multitude of physical benefits. Not only can you reduce stress and regulate your mood, but you can also practice understanding your body’s signals to stress. Learn what those look or feel like, and then practice a positive, healthy response.
  • Be kind to yourself. Much of the stress we encounter we often put on ourselves. Whether we want the exact tablescape we saw someone effortlessly create online or we want to create a dinner that wows our guests, we often give ourselves impossible or near-impossible standards to reach during the holidays. Just like you should focus more on fitness than a number on a scale or an impossible standard plastered across a magazine cover, you should focus more on the atmosphere you can create with your kindness and hospitality, not the picture-perfect holiday décor made by hand. You are capable of spreading holiday cheer just by being kind and compassionate, and it starts by treating yourself with kindness.
  • Get plenty of sleep. The holidays should be no different than any other time of the year. In fact, you should be even more vigilant about your sleep. Proper rest helps you recover from the day and allows your body the time it needs to repair and recharge. Sure, you may have a late night or two, but sleep is essential to your health, so don’t stretch yourself too thin.

If you keep your personal health and well-being in perspective, you can then use the mindfulness you’ve practiced to further reduce your stress load. Try practicing mindfulness in these ways during the holidays:

  • Respond with kindness. Inevitably, you will encounter someone who rubs you the wrong way. This may even be the one time of year this occurs. So practice how you might respond with kindness ahead of time, regardless of what this person says or how this person acts. If you respond with kindness, you take control of your emotions and the situation. Getting angry and upset allows the situation to control you and perhaps ruin your time.
  • Anticipate upcoming stressors. Think ahead about the holidays. When you think about the office party, do you get anxious? When you think about the huge list of gifts you need to get started on, do you start feeling stressed? When you work out with your Pilates equipment at home, you put yourself through challenges that may seem stressful. Recognize what upcoming situations might feel stressful and look for ways to minimize that stress. Ask someone to shop with you so that you’re not shopping for gifts but shopping with a friend instead, which feels less stressful and may help you get more things done. Consider what makes you feel anxious about an upcoming get-together and plan for ways to work around it.
  • Remember that you are enough. If everything doesn’t get done as planned, you can let it go. Your presence and your spirit make the holiday fun, not your trussed-up roast or daintily wrapped gifts. Be present, compassionate, and kind, and you’ll find that your transformed mindset might actually be contagious!

Mindfulness can be a powerful way to transform your mindset. As the holidays draw near, take time to practice your mindfulness on and off your Pilates reformer. Begin noticing what causes you stress and practice reducing its effects. Working out on your Pilates reformer can offer both physical fitness through the holidays that keeps you feeling positive and energized, as well as give you the practice you need to be mindful of stress in your life so that you can do your best to defuse it.

Back to blog