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Strategies to Slow Down and Destress This Holiday Season

The week a particularly emotional one, not for myself but for a loved one experiencing a number of physical maladies recently, I processed with my intuitive counselor.

She confirmed the best thing I can do from a distance is pray and stay connected.

Back on my yoga mat later that week—a place I suppose I slow down enough to be present—I sensed Jesus breaking into the silence, “Today, make your yoga practice a prayer.”

Unsure I heard Him correctly, I couldn’t imagine how to turn a movement practice into prayer. But His reassurance bolstered my belief in the possibility. 

holiday stress

The class I take is called Heated Flow. It proceeds as a series of poses choreographed similarly to a dance. Our instructor teaches each flow, followed by a time of practice, pacing each pose to our breath.

As I progressed, each pose informed my prayer:

  • Downward Dog – “Jesus, keep them grounded in Your love and truth.”
  • Warrior – “Make them strong and healthy, able to fight the good fight, enduring to victory.”
  • Triangle – “Keep them centered in your Triune love—Father, Son, and Spirit—healing, protecting, and guiding them.”
  • Plank – “Make them steadfast and persevering.”
  • Sky Archer – “Make them a sure arrow, shooting them into the world to make their mark for their good and Your glory.” 
  • Cobra – “Make them wise as serpents, gentle as doves.”
  • Happy Baby – “Bring laughter and joy to their life.”
  • Child’s Pose – “Give them child-like faith and a light and easy spirit.”
  • Corpse (resting) Pose – “Restore life and health to their body.”

Revolutionary to my prayer life, I realized my paradigm of spiritual formation limited more than freed me. 

I’m learning to keep my spiritual eyes open to unconventional opportunities. 

Jesus is everywhere, in every moment—revealing, moving, empowering, working all things according to His goodness, truth and beautiful purposes.

I just need to remind myself daily and ask Him to show me. 

A lesson in His ingenuity and creativity, I don’t have to sit at a table, close my eyes, and talk to Him. He’s with me everywhere, waiting for me to invite Him into each moment.

It’s that simple, and complex. 

This brings me to the second strategy to manage holiday stress and anxiety:

2. Slow down

Busyness equals distraction at its core. When I’m distracted with work, chores, parenting, technology, or my thoughts, I’m less likely to hear God. It’s one of the enemy’s greatest weapons. 

Yes, God commands attention through burning bushes, clouds over mountains, fierce winds, and angels, but He more frequently speaks by His Spirit in the quiet of my heart.

 So when I don’t slow down, my spirit, the part of me that connects with Jesus, emaciates. 

I guess that’s why Jesus got my attention in Yoga class. 

In relationships, I generally, though not always, receive in proportion to what I give. But what God gives when I slow down is utterly disproportional. If I have 5 minutes, He can supply infinitely more than what 5 minutes apportions in the physical realm.

If we write it as an equation, it would be:

1 : ∞ 

So whatever you have, especially during this time-faminished season, just give it. He can multiply it.

A poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus…said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” Mark 12:42-44

Maybe you can steal a few moments to listen to your favorite Christmas carol. Not about jingling bells or scary ghost stories, but the one that moves your soul, tendering its raw edges. 

You know which one I’m talking about, reminding you why we deck the halls and sing songs of good cheer.

For me, it’s Pentatonix’s Mary Did You Know. It reminds me Jesus not only lived and died for us 2000 years ago, but He’s alive and doing His Father’s work in the world and my circumstances, now—today. And He’s on His way back, in His good and perfect time. 

Maybe it’s reading a chapter in one of the gospels, like the Christmas story. Ask Jesus to show you something you’ve never seen before. 

I’ve asked for years (because it’s my favorite Biblical account and my favorite season), and He does!

Make a plan now; we never stumble into unhurried moments. We cement them into our schedules, however small they may be. Put it on the calendar or set a reminder on your phone, and slow down weekly. 

Ask Him to unveil something new about who He is and what He’s doing in and around you. Then wait. He has so much to say to you.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Luke 11:9

Next week, we’ll discover how to make Jesus a part of your busyness to manage holiday stress!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Shirley E. Principe

    Well done Kristin. Loved every moment of Theo post. Liked the yoga references. I just started yoga almost a month ago now. I do practice meditating on the Holy Scriptures during my yoga time. He knows I really need Him!!

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