Breathe: Staying Present When Holiday Fun Becomes Holiday Frustration – West Valley Counseling Center

Talk about it. Se habla español.


04 Dec

Breathe: Staying Present When Holiday Fun Becomes Holiday Frustration

While the holidays are a special time of year for us, our families, and friends, our schedules can become so packed with activities that we experience mental traffic jams from time to time. It can be difficult to stay in choice, to maintain a balance in our daily lives, because we feel obligated to participate in as many events as we can.

In a previous blog entry, we talked about dealing with typical holiday stresses. From family get-togethers to office and neighborhood parties, this time of year can easily become the “hectic holidays.” Are you dealing with some or all of the following?

-    Family visits
-    Attending parties and get-togethers
-    Cooking holiday meals
-    Hanging decorations and lights
-    Shopping for gifts
-    Inclement weather
-    Traveling

During the holiday season, there’s always something to be done, and there’s always someone to visit (or someone who is visiting you). You may feel that you’re always running from one thing to the next, and are unable to save some time for yourself.

One thing that may help? Slow down, stop if you need to, and breathe. A few minutes of deep breathing helps to reset the mind and to give yourself a short break to regenerate your emotional reactions to what’s going on around you.

Deep breathing is good for your body as well as your mind. According to Harvard Medical School, “it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.”

The act of breathing is a simple concept, but actually getting ourselves to do it can be a challenge. Remember that even five minutes can be a nice break to recharge your batteries. (You can set a stopwatch or timer if you’d like to).

The concept of deep breathing is part of what we call mindfulness or staying present in our lives.

Psychology Today refers to mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

If you’d like to learn more, West Valley Counseling Center hosts a weekly Mindfulness Group. Check out our calendar to see when the next session is scheduled. We’d love for you to join us.

Remember that the staff at West Valley Counseling Center are always here to help, and to help you talk about it. West Valley Counseling Center is located at 19634 Ventura Blvd Suite 212, Tarzana, CA 91356. Phone us at (818) 758-9450, or email

Written By Sharon Burnett, Ph.D., from WVCC