12 Simple Ways to Manage Stress and Overwhelm While Visiting Family for the Holidays

If you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed by an upcoming visit with your family, here are 12 simple ways to manage that stress. Whether you are taking two weeks to spend time with your family, or whether you are spending a day with the in-laws, use these tips to manage your mood. Many of the tips outlined below take less than 2 minutes to use and can easily be woven into your holiday. Mix and match your favorites.

1) Essential Oils – Simple smells can quickly change your mood. Essential oils dabbed on the wrists or on the temples are quickly integrated into the bloodstream. Peppermint is useful for headaches, mental blocks and is great pick-me up for fatigue. Orange is helpful for uplifting moods. Essential oils are small and are easy to pack. Keep a small travel pack with you on the plane or in the car. Essential oils can be the perfect remedy before a good night’s sleep.

2) Hydration – Even mild dehydration can affect one’s mood, energy level and the ability to think clearly. While traveling you may lean towards not to drinking water, especially if you are expecting a long flight or long car drive. With all the holiday gatherings how much water are you drinking? If you notice yourself becoming crabby grab a glass of water, or two. Start your morning with a glass of water. Hydrate.

3) Elimination – This time of year we are eating all sorts of food that we normally do not eat. This is okay! It is good to feed the soul as well as the body. Indigestion and constipation can have a terrible effect on our mood. If you experience indigestion or constipation from your food choices here is a simple trick to get things moving. Two large glasses of warm water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything will help move things along. Also one or two green drinks from your local grocery store will help keep the digestive system moving this holiday season. Grab a green drink while snacking.

4) Herbal teas – Pack your favorite teas for your trip. If you know that tea has a calming effect for you, pack a few of your favorites. Chamomile tea about ½ – 1 hour before you plan on going to sleep can help reduce inflammation in your stomach, and possibly balance out the acidity levels as well. It also does wonders for relieving stress, which can trigger acid reflux, and will help you sleep through the night as well.

5) Eye mask – If you are staying at a relative’s home it may take a bit for your body to relax. I live in a large urban area and my family lives in a rural area. The first night back is a major adjustment for my body. An eye mask (I recommend one with the puffy eye pillows) will help your eyes relax into the sockets. When you eyes drop and relax into the eye sockets this quiets the mind. An eye mask is great for the times where you have no control over the amount of natural light where you sleep or if you share a room with another.

6) Ear plugs – Our body has become used to the sounds around us. On a long flight it is easy to be distracted by loud conversations around you. Ear plugs can muffle the sounds. Much like the eye mask, ear plugs can make the difference when you sleep. If you sleep late and your family are early risers…or if you go to bed early and your family goes to bed late, grab your ear plugs and get a good night’s sleep. It may make the difference if you are sharing a room with a loved one that tosses in their sleep, talks in their sleep or snores.

7) Music – Pack your favorite tunes for your holiday trip. Choose a selection of tracks the lift and pick you up. Pick music that relaxes you and mellows the mind. Music can restore energy, elevate your mood and can help relax the body. Listen to your favorite songs first thing in the morning or right before bed to set the tone of your day.

8) Your favorite inspirational book – A light inspirational book can offer a new perspective. Are you being challenged by family members? Are they repeatedly asking about your relationship status, your work status, your weight, your kids? It is easy to become triggered with certain conversations or questions. This is true if you are visiting your family and a good meaning aunt and uncle happens to ask you “how’s work?” Little do they know this is the twentieth time someone has asked you this question and in the back of your mind you know that work is stressful. Choose a collection of quotes that can keep you grounded and in perspective. Remember most of the time your relatives mean well and care. Much like music a good quote can set the tone for the day.

9) Meditation on the breath – 2 minutes in the morning, 2 minutes in the evening quietly meditating on the breath physically relaxes the body and quiets the mind. A simple practice where you tell yourself “I breath in…I breath out” with the attention only on the breath can quickly change the stress and anxiety you feel in your body. Meditation on the breath is a technique you can use in the car, sitting at the dinner table, or while sitting on the coach. Invite some mindfulness into your holiday.

10) Movement – It’s cold. It is rainy. You look out the window and the gray of the morning has you head for the covers vs diving for your yoga pants. Tis the season for more rest and 5 to 20 minutes of movement a day is great for joint health. The more exercise you get the better it is for your body, your mood, and energy. Don’t wait until January 1st to begin your exercise regime. Take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes to move your body. Lift your arms to stretch. Take a 10 minute walk with a niece or a nephew. Schedule a yoga class or dance class just for you. Mark it in the schedule ahead of time. Invite a friend.

11) Journal – Need to let off steam? Grab your journal and let your mind free flow whatever is on your mind. It can be challenging to find the time to squeeze this in. First thing in the morning or toward the end of the evening is a great place to give mind chatter space. Most people experience the ‘monkey mind.’ Don’t believe everything you think. Don’t keep it bottled up either. After you finish free flowing your thoughts in your journal, take a breath, at the end of page write THANK YOU. The more we suppress our thoughts the more they boil on the inside like a tea kettle. Acknowledge that subconscious part of you that may feel crabby.

12) Gratitude – Finish your day writing down 3 things that you are grateful for in the day. Maybe it was having a slice of your favorite pie. Maybe it was the sleep. Look for the good in your day. Do this right before bed. As you drift off to sleep gratitude becomes part of your subconscious. What we focus on before we sleep has a huge affect on how we feel first thing in the morning and the dreams we have at night.

We have more control than we think over our stress level and how we manage it. Most of these tips can be done first thing in the morning or in the evening. Prep for your holiday! If you find yourself anxious, stressed, or angry, pull out this list and try something new.


From Wedding 9-2012

Meta Lackland is a Life and Business Coach. She specializes in the Mind Body Spirit connection in Life and Work. For more information or to learn how to work with Meta, find her at www.coachingbymeta.com. Receive daily inspirtation at Facebook. Follow on Twitter and Google +

When Life Dictates Simplicity


This last Sunday I went to bed with a massive headache.  I woke up Monday morning with the headache and vertigo.  I cleared my calendar for the day.  As I was lying in bed I thought about Simplicity.

How can I be effective in my business when I’m knocked out?
It wasn’t possible to focus on much when I was lying in bed except for rest, sleep and hydration.

How can I focus on what is important AND take care of myself and my well being?  Simplify and pare down to the essentials.

1)  To simplify means saying No.

We have a finite amount of energy during the day.  Marianne Williamson has finite amount of energy for the day.  You and I do too.  How do you spend your energy?  When I was in bed it was clear that teaching yoga was out.  I simply didn’t have the physical energy to do so.  What activities fuel you up?  What activities deplete you?

2)  What are my priorities for this day?  This moment?

Lying in bed I was bummed about rearranging my day.  My priorities for Monday had been my clients, my yoga students and my mastermind team.  My health restructured my priorities to me.  100%  Priorities shift and change. Pain has a way of dictating these changes quickly.

3)  What do I need help with?  Can I ask for help?

One of my values is to be in integrity with what I say I’m going to do.  I physically couldn’t teach.  Yoga class was still scheduled.  I reached out to a colleague of mine and class was taken care of.  We all need help.  Who supports you?  Do you feel comfortable asking for help?

Next time life takes you on the expected detour with your health, simplify, simplify, simplify.



Yoga – Relieve Your Headaches with Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend

Yoga picture for blog

Being in pain is no fun.  It distracts us from the activities we desire to to.  This week I suffered from some nasty headaches.  It can be challenging to think of ways to care for yourself when you don’t feel your best.

This month’s article is dedicated to the Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend.  One of the benefits to this pose is it relieves headaches, sinusitis, stress, anxiety and mild depression.  Ta daaaaaaahhh!  My pose in times of headache trouble.

Other bonus benefits to this pose – It strengthens your legs and your back.  It stretches your hamstrings, your buttocks and back.  The Wide Legged Forward Bend stimulates circulation and digestion.

Avoid this pose if you have inflammation of the eyes, chronic back or leg inflammation or pain.

When I don’t feel my best, I practice supported yoga poses.  This means my wide legged forward bend will be supported by a chair.  On the chair will be blankets for my head.  Yoga is a wonderful tool to move stagnate energy and rejuvenate your body.  You don’t need to be bendy in order to practice. 

Suffer from tension headaches, try out the Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend.


Family Constellations-Notice Your Pattern



What do you do next?

In this Youtube video, Meta Lackland gives 3 tips to manage the emotions when you discover you have a pattern running in your life that keeps you stuck.

The dictionary defines a pattern as A plan, diagram, or model to be followed.  Think of your pattern as your subconscious plan to give you relief in the only way it may know how.

In life we can discover that our patterns are related to how we spend money, how we relate to our partners, how we raise our children, how we spend time at work.  Patterns run the gambit of avoidance, confrontation, freeze, overindulgence, etc.  We develop them in relation to the rewards and stresses in life.

We all have them.  How can we make peace with them?




Ancestor Support for Stressful Times Audio


This month my good friend asked me a question.  How can constellation work give us strength when there is so much chaos in the world?

I was reflecting on this with the knowledge that throughout history there have been stressful times.  Through our ancestor lineage there are many who came before us who survived, had strength and persevered.

Download this month’s ancestor support audio.
Connect to the strength that has always been a part of you.


The Importance of Savasana-Relax, Release, Let-Go


Savasana.   Corpse Pose.  It is a favorite pose of mine.  In high pace yoga classes savasana is commonly shortened.  The savasana  pose is either a few minutes long or none at all.  When savasana is shortened we miss out of the best part of yoga, integration.  A good savasana  is 8-10 minutes in length. 

Why is savasana important?

Savasana is the integration of yoga practice.  It is the place where we relax, be still and let go of our efforts.   In a world where we book our calendars several months out  and work 12 hour days it is important to stop and let go of doing.   In savasana something wonderful happens where the mind has the opportunity to stop its hamster wheel of thoughts. 

We live in a time were our society is the most sedentary that it has ever been.  It is also a time where our society experiences more stress and restriction in the body.  We desperately need to relax.

What are the health benefits? 

Savasana calms the restless mind, relieves distress and helps alleviate fatigue.  It relaxes the muscles and organs.  Savasana relieves mild depression, headaches and insomnia.  It lowers blood pressure.  It increases the ability to remain calm during the day.

For anyone suffering from chronic tension a few minutes of savasana can be an opportunity to relax.

So the next time you have your yoga practice and you feel the urge to shorten savasana, think of the benefits above.  We need time to integrate our practice.  We need time to integrate our life.

Relax, Release and Let Go.

How to Create an Effective, Believable Affirmation


Affirmations are a wonderful way to say something kind, powerful and true about ourselves. We experience life through how we think.  We experience the majority of life through our repetitious thoughts.  These thoughts are rarely challenged.

For example, if we think of ourselves as ugly, our experience of ourselves through the world is mostly that, Ugly.  In order to change this we need to create some new habits of thought.  Affirmations are a way to create this.

If you are new to affirmations, a simple affirmation may sound phony, and frankly like BS, bullshit.  Most people stop saying their affirmations because it doesn’t feel true or they feel very uncomfortable saying it.

Here is a simple, super effective way, to believe your affirmation after you create it.

Create your affirmation using I AM statements.  Powerful affirmations are created in the present tense.  “I AM a rock star at creating affirmations!”
No worries if your affirmation feels untrue.  In fact this is quite common and the reason for its creation.

You may create your affirmation to counter balance a negative belief you have about yourself.  For example, “I am beautiful” to counter the “I am ugly” negative self talk that replays in your head.

Special Note about the affirmation process:  This process works best when you say the words out loud.

Step 1:  Create your I AM statement.
Step 2:  State your affirmation with clarity, out loud.  In order to believe it…State your affirmation.  Then go ahead and state why it isn’t true.  Out loud.  The mind’s objections to the affirmation.  Let it out. End it with simple Thank You.

“I am beautiful.”
“That’s just crazy.  Did you see my outfit tonight?  My hair is frizzy.  And my skin…”  Thank you.

Step 3:  State you affirmation again. Simply, with respect.
Say again aloud the objections. State it simply and with dignity.  End with Thank you.
“I am beautiful.”
“But my hair’s not brushed…there’s some weird dot over my eye…”  Thank you.

Step 4:  State your affirmation again. Simply with respect and dignity.
Say aloud the objections.  Simply.  End it with Thank you.

Step 5:  Repeat this process several times.

After each time, notice the objections are less and less.
You will reach a point (usually around 7 or 8 times) when there are NO objections.
A simple quiet clarity.

“I AM beautiful.”
Step 6:  State your affirmation again.  Feel the truth of the words.

That is how you create an effective, believable affirmation.
Every time you state it afterwards, feel the truth of the statement.
You are that.

I Heart Yoga Props

Blocks, Blankets, Bolsters, Straps, Sandbags, Pillows…and a yoga mat, oh my!

To a newbie yoga props can be confusing.   Why do I need a block?  What is the strap for?  If I need a prop does it mean I’m cheating to get into the pose?  I have had many moments in yoga class with a confused look on my face as I figured out where to place my props.

Why use them?                                            


          Recovering from an injury  Students recovering from injuries step into a yoga class with the intention to recover their mobility.  If you have recently injured your body take extra care in your practice.  This means spend less time in a pose and use yoga props to allow the body to gradually open and stretch without placing excessive strain on the injury.

 Meta Lackland Props Resized

          Proper alignment-Yoga is the practice of noticing our habits.  In particular to notice our habits of how we hold our body.   We each have a habit of how we stand, how we sit, how we bend.  Yoga props teach us how to hold ourselves in alignment.  Props allow for students to experience the feeling of a pose in proper alignment without strain.

          Returning to yoga after a break in practice–I notice during the holidays my yoga practice naturally slows down.  If you are introducing a new exercise regimen or returning to yoga after a break from your practice, you may experience some stiffness within the body.  There is no need to struggle to touch the toes.   Utilize props in your practice. 

Family Constellations- Family Dinner Visualization

In this Youtube video-I share the family dinner visualization.
This visualization illustrates how we relate to money and abundance in our life.  The purpose of the exercise is to notice what type of emotions come up as you sit at the table with your family.

Where in life are you experiencing similar emotions?

How to Get Back on Track in Life

Life has a funny way of taking us on detours.  We believe we are on track, engaging in business, doing great in our job, we settle into our normal routine of life.

Then in a day everything changes.  You receive a phone call.  You learn a loved one is seriously ill.  One day your pet dies.  You wake up to find someone has busted your car window.  Some detours are small and take a short amount of time to get back on track.  A few hours or a day.  Other detours are life changing and can change the course of who you are.

When the detours happen how can you get back on track?  

Here are a few tips that can help.

Recognize that this too shall pass-If you are dealing with any kind of loss (money, family, friends) there is a period of time of grief.  That period of time is different for everyone.  Time does heal the wounds.  There will be moments when the pain lessens, a moment where you begin to focus more outward, less inward.  Give yourself time to experience the emotions.  Try not to make yourself wrong if you are not on your A game and are not doing the things you normally do.  Sadness, anger, frustration, all of these emotions cloud our ability to think clearly and to take action.

What helps you feel good- Is it your yoga practice?  Your silent meditation in the morning?  A cup of tea with a friend?  A walk?  A favorite blog?  Your book group?  Happy hour?  Music?  Everyone’s oasis is different.  People tend to forget what helps them feel better in times of stress. Once a day, for 10 minutes a day, do something specific for you.  Choose a time, early in the morning or late in the evening where you are certain to not be interrupted.

Consider Life’s Pause Button-One thing I hear from my clients is the frustration of having to put their life on hold when these things happen.  They feel irritated at themselves for not keeping up with their classes, their businesses, their career, their health.  Consider this stressful time a place where you press the pause button on your project.  It isn’t going anywhere.  We sometimes judge ourselves harshly for not getting it all done.  Each one of us only has 24 hours in a day.  In times of stress, the number one priority becomes You. 

When you are ready to jump in again unpause the button.

In the meantime when you are in the in-between space of feeling normal and feeling stress…

1). Reach out to friends and colleagues who are doing the things you want to do.  Say hello.

2). Stay connected to your project with blog articles, videos, websites.  Choose how much or how little is right for you. 

3).  Connect with your support team.  Your life coach, a mentor, a friend, minister, teacher, counselor, therapist, nutritionist, massage therapist, etc.  These individuals can help support you through the stressful times and lessen the amount of time you spend there.

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