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These kids forgot to breathe. Thanks to Awkward Family Photos for the image.

The run-up to the holidays is usually a stressful time for many. Schedules are packed with gatherings, school programs and shopping trips to crowded malls to find the perfect gifts for family, friends and co-workers. It seems like life just doesn't calm down until the New Year. But if you can carve out just a few minutes from your day, there are a few tricks that will help keep the nail-biting at bay.

If you just have a few minutes: breathe. Deep breathing signals your body to relax, says Zen fitness expert Jeff Christian. He recommends sitting up, closing your eyes, and inhaling for three counts and exhaling for six counts. Repeat for five to 10 minutes. Don't worry if what's stressing you out enters your mind during this exercise; just continue to breathe through those distractions. The breathing will help the distractions melt away. 

Other suggestions include taking a walk, listening to your favorite songs and writing down the stressors making life difficult. It also helps to remember the actual value of the holidays; it's really about making memories with loved ones, isn't it?

This week’s activity is featured in the holiday edition of Heifer International's World Ark Magazine. For more at-home tips and stories of our work around the world, download our free, award-winning tablet World Ark App for iPad or Android


Molly Fincher

Molly writes stuff for Heifer International's website, magazine and blog.